A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive Role Models
Marilyn is portrayed as generally lost and exploited or abused by almost everyone she comes in contact with, except her husband Arthur Miller and her trusted make-up artist Whitey, who both treat her with care. She's shown to be more intelligent than people gave her credit for and an exceptionally charismatic and talented actor. She is depicted as scarred from childhood trauma, hard on herself, possibly suffering from inherited mental health issues, and eventually succumbing to painkillers.
Violence & Scariness
A mother emotionally and physically abuses and attempts to kill her own child; she also appears suicidal and is institutionalized in a bleak mental hospital. Men force Marilyn into sexual acts and beat her up. Marilyn undergoes emotionally taxing abortions and miscarriages. A man mentions allegations against the then-president of sexual molestation.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Full-frontal female nudity in one brief scene, and a lot of Marilyn topless. Sexual scenes include a threesome between Marilyn and two men, and a graphic oral sex scene (penis isn't shown). Men constantly comment on and admire Marilyn's body.
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"F--k," "s--t," "damn," "hell," "ass," "whore," "c--k," "c--ksuckers," "slut," "crap," "tramp," "pee," "God," "Jesus."
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Products & Purchases
LA sites; Monroe films; the book this film is based on; and media outlets, studios, and publications of the time.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink and smoke. Marilyn takes and is given painkillers, sometimes with alcohol, which causes her to vomit, hallucinate, pass out, and ultimately die. A man appears drunk and violent. Another man is said to have died by choking on his own vomit due to alcoholism.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the film Blonde, based on Joyce Carol Oates' fictional novel about Marilyn Monroe, earned an unusual NC-17 rating in the US because of its sexual content. The content includes a sexual encounter and relationship between Marilyn (played by Ana de Armas) and two men and a graphic oral sex scene where intimate body parts aren't shown but the camera dwells on Marilyn's face during the entire act. Full-frontal female nudity of another character is shown briefly, and there are a lot of scenes with Marilyn topless. There's also sexual violence, including a man in a position of power forcing himself on a young Marilyn. Her mother and one of her husbands are also portrayed as abusive, and Marilyn undergoes abortions and miscarriages. She's portrayed as immensely talented but also traumatized and unstable, and she ultimately becomes addicted to painkillers. She's seen taking these with alcohol and vomiting or losing consciousness and her sense of reality, and ultimately dying. Other adults drink and smoke as well, and one character is said to have died choking on his own vomit. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "hell," "ass," "whore," "c--k," "c--ksuckers," "slut," "Jesus," and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Andrew Dominik has crafted an ambitious and daring but overly long fictionalized biopic centered around a remarkable lead performance from Ana de Armas. Dominik clearly intended for Blonde to overwhelm and even feel cruel at times, ostensibly to mirror the life experiences of the fictionalized Marilyn Monroe/Norma Jean. De Armas is excellent in the role, embodying Marilyn to a tee. If anyone complains about her (very slight) Cuban accent, just remind them of the countless times American actors have played other nationalities. But this Monroe is essentially one-note: she's anxious, vulnerable, emotionally tortured, always unsatisfied, abused, and misunderstood. She moves from man to man (calling them all "daddy") and seems on the constant verge of a nervous breakdown.
Many scenes in Blonde are both fantastical and intentionally provocative. The film is narratively and visually inventive, including a sex scene where bodies appear to be floating, stretching, and melting, or camera angles meant to be looking out from inside a vagina or a toilet. Camera angles, focus, color, and sound all conjure Marilyn's mindset and mood. Some of these techniques are quite effective and memorable, others just feel showy and more about form than content. Ultimately, for the viewer, less would have been more. At almost three hours long, the exercise is exhausting. Perhaps we are meant to feel as disoriented and drained as this fictionalized Marilyn, who asks where dreams end and madness begins?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.