Netflix’s Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde has come under fire for a number of reasons since its debut on the platform last week. Some critics and audience reviews have slammed the film for being an exploitation of the late actress, others have called it cruel and now the movie’s handling of two illegal abortions has brought further scorn from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
The subject of abortion is a sensitive one in the US right now, and coming only three months after the decision to overturn Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court, the scenes in Blonde have really ignited fears over how abortion is depicted and what people will take away from it. In a statement detailed in The Hollywood Reporter by Caren Spruch, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national director of arts and entertainment engagement, said:
“As film and TV shapes many people’s understanding of sexual and reproductive health, it’s critical these depictions accurately portray women’s real decisions and experiences. While abortion is safe, essential health care, anti-abortion zealots have long contributed to abortion stigma by using medically inaccurate descriptions of fetuses and pregnancy. Andrew Dominik’s new film, Blonde, bolsters their message with a CGI-talking fetus, depicted to look like a fully formed baby.
Planned Parenthood respects artistic license and freedom. However, false images only serve to reinforce misinformation and perpetuate stigma around sexual and reproductive health care. Every pregnancy outcome — especially abortion — should be portrayed sensitively, authentically and accurately in the media. We still have much work to do to ensure that everyone who has an abortion can see themselves onscreen. It is a shame that the creators of Blonde chose to contribute to anti-abortion propaganda and stigmatize people’s health care decisions instead.”
Blonde Has Been Defended By Its Director and The Original Novel’s Author
While Blonde has been attacked on a number of different subjects, Ana de Armas’ central performance as Monroe has been unanimously praised, with everyone agreeing that the actress has taken her Hollywood profile to another level. However, for director Andrew Dominik and Blonde author Joyce Carol Oates it has been a real firefight to defend the movie against claims of exploitation and now for its abortion depictions.
In a recent interview with The Wrap, the director dismissed the perceptions being made about the movie’s abortion stance as being simply down to the timing of the release. He said:
“People are obviously concerned with losses of freedoms, but, I mean, no one would have given a shit about that if I’d made the movie in 2008, and probably no one’s going to care about it in four years’ time. And the movie won’t have changed. It’s just what’s sort of going on.”
“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.”
Blonde is currently streaming on Netflix.
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( With inputs from movieweb )