I’ve read and listened to people’s opinions about this film for the last couple of weeks. The controversy has popularized Blonde as a fictionalized biography of the life of Marilyn Monroe, based on the book of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates (It should be noted that neither the film nor the book is a biography of Marilyn).

Before watching the film, the first criticism I heard about this film was people’s concern/anger at having Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Blonde has been called disrespectful, denigrating Marilyn’s life, not according to her life, boring, unnecessary, etc. All these comments not only come from social media, but it has become a social issue that is difficult not to pay attention to. Ana de Armas is a Cuban and Spanish actress who has captivated Hollywood with her talent, intelligence, and beauty. I admired her determination to learn English since her first language was Spanish. When she came to the United States to act, she only memorized her lines for a film while she was learning the language. Given this, people began to speculate that Ana de Armas was not the right person to interpret Marilyn due to her accent. Specifically, an accent that wasn’t 100% American or appropriate for viewers. However, Ana changed her accent throughout the movie, from knowing the idioms to Marilyn’s pronunciation.

So, if Ana de Armas changed her accent, why has the criticism been so awful? The controversy not only goes from the fact that a non-American actress played the famous Marilyn but also from the dehumanizing and disrespectful presentation of the life of this icon in pop culture. I’ve read many criticisms of Ana de Armas for this role; however, why do we not blame the producers or creators? The film captures a different message, a completely different side of who Marilyn was. This movie presents the character that Norma Jeane Mortenson created to belong to the world of Hollywood, which is how she is better known, Marilyn Monroe. However, somehow the result of this film does not precede what Marilyn was since it is a fictional image of how Joyce thought she was. She is presented as naive and insecure when she was brilliant and knew perfectly well how to get noticed.

I can rescue from the film the performance, in particular,  Ana de Armas’. The film is difficult to process due to unnecessary nudity, inadequate dialogue, scenes for no reason, or, more than anything, excessively long for no reason. Ana de Armas was my only reason for not stopping the movie 20 minutes after it started. Her acting is impressive, with all her mannerisms. Honestly, I couldn’t believe the similarities that she has with Marilyn. I know she also had the magic of makeup and custom wigs. Even knowing this, I consider Ana de Armas’ work perfect to play Marilyn, but the script was not fair enough to honor her life.

The movie is not all bad, but it had a wrong approach. We can continue to focus on everyone’s opinions or how badly the film portrays Marilyn; however, let’s focus on Ana de Armas. A successful non-American actress who carried the whole movie on her back.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Ana, to appreciate her effort and performance. Thank you, Ana, for allowing us to see a powerful Latina taking over the big screen.

And for Marilyn, I’m sorry for not letting you rest. You deserved more. 

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Natalia Arreola
Natalia Arreola is a New Mexico State University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing with a minor in Psychology. She works at El Paso Inc. as Audience Development & Engagement Manger. Natalia has been working on different projects as an editor, including Chrysalis, The Papagayo Project, Memorias del Silencio, and more. Natalia’s goal is to get her master’s degree in either Publishing or Editing to apply to larger publishing companies. And maybe one day, she can publish her own book. Her passion has always been between books and writing to find a way to understand this world and life.