Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.
Blonde author Joyce Carol Oates has defended Andrew Dominik's controversial Netflix adaptation of the same name, calling the film "a brilliant work of cinematic art".
Responding to a series of tweets, Oates acknowledged that while the film wouldn't appeal to everyone, it is a faithful depiction of Marilyn Monroe's life.
"Andrew Dominik may have believed he was making a post-#MeToo era film in Blonde that would be recognised as exposing male cruelty & sexual abuse of women & the denigration of Marilyn Monroe as a victim driven finally to take her own life," she tweeted.
She continued: "I think it was/is a brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone. surprising that in a post#MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as "exploitation." surely Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane's story sincerely."
I think it was/is a brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone. surprising that in a post#MeToo era the stark exposure of sexual predation in Hollywood has been interpreted as "exploitation." surely Andrew Dominik meant to tell Norma Jeane's story sincerely. https://t.co/YCehGfskds
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) September 30, 2022
Oates's comments come after the film, which stars Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, has faced negative backlash for its graphic depiction of the late actress's life.
De Armas defended Blonde's explicit scenes in a recent interview, saying she didn't feel exploited while filming them (via Entertainment Weekly).
"It's harder for people to watch [those scenes] than for me to make them, because I understood what I was doing and I felt very protected and safe," she said.
"I didn't feel exploited because I was in control. I made that decision. I knew what the movie I was doing. I trusted my director. I felt like I was in a safe environment."
In its review of the film, Digital Spy called Blonde an "extravagant cinematic artifice with a gruelling, cruel portrayal of one of our most iconic movie stars".
"Marilyn's was a life of such extreme highs and lows, embellishment would seem superfluous, but Blonde sprinkles in a few fictional abuses to really emphasise the Hollywood contradiction of a superb talent with a troubled life."
Blonde is available to watch now on Netflix.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
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