The main problem with Blonde is that it fixates on the suffering of Marilyn through graphic sex scenes and not much else. By favouring shock value over substance and with the help of a hollow script, Blonde only furthers the string of clichés that it promised to challenge.
To make matters worse, Blonde has been framed as a radical feminist film. This feeds into the lazy idea that showing a woman having explicit sex makes a film inherently feminist. In this, Blonde reflects a wider problem within current feminist discourse where exploitation and, in some cases, downright misogyny, is veiled as empowerment.
Dominik’s mindless glorification of Marilyn Monroe’s trauma is not subversive- it’s just harmful. Once again, Marilyn’s complex relationship with men, art and with herself is reduced to a troubled girl with daddy issues and a full medicine cabinet. The idea of a man directing a film about a woman’s life that was so famously characterised by men, ironically of the same profession and position of power, doesn’t help Dominik’s case either. But with contemporaries like Craig Gillespie, director of ‘I, Tonya’ and Darren Aronofsky of ‘Black Swan’, who triumphed in exploring the emotional lives of women- I’ll admit that it’s possible.
Ultimately, it’s clear that feminist films require care and a consciousness, especially if they are to come from men, and Blonde lacked both qualities entirely.