Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Critical Response To Blonde Confirms What We Suspected All Along About The NC-17 Biopic

It won't be long now until viewers can finally watch "Blonde" from the comforts of their own homes. The Netflix original, which focuses on the life of Marilyn Monroe, has been embroiled in some unusual controversy over the past few months. First and foremost, "Blonde" earned a rare NC-17 rating, which not only raised eyebrows but confused star Ana de Armas, who didn't exactly agree with that particular decision (per L'Officiel). "I can tell you a number of shows or movies that are way more explicit with a lot more sexual content than 'Blonde,'" de Armas said. "But to tell this story it is important to show all these moments in Marilyn's life that made her end up the way that she did."

Given its NC-17 rating, it was always going to be an interesting exercise in gauging how critics react to "Blonde," especially given a subject like the tragic life of Monroe. Well, now that reviews have really started to pour in for the film, the consensus surrounding the biopic is one that all but confirms what many of us have suspected.

Critics are very divided over Blonde, but not over de Armas' performance

Over on Rotten Tomatoes, "Blonde" has garnered a split-down-the-middle 50% rating thus far, based on over 100 compiled reviews. The consensus reads: "'Blonde' can be hard to watch as it teeters between commenting on exploitation and contributing to it, but Ana de Armas' luminous performance makes it difficult to look away." It's not exactly a surprising response, as "Blonde" seemed destined to be something of a divisive film just by the very fact of its existence.

Yet even some of the more positive reviews note that it's ultimately de Armas who keeps the film afloat. "Expressing all these emotions and experiences demands a lot of actor de Armas, who rises to the challenge superbly and makes me inclined to give the movie a pass on the basis of her performance alone," said Peter Howell of the Toronto Star. In a more negative review, Kim Hughes of Original Cin agreed about de Armas' portrayal of Marilyn Monroe but didn't find it enough to recommend the film. "A superb Ana de Armas is the only reason to see this tirelessly exploitative biopic, which underserves both its star and its subject," she wrote.

However, some positive reviews cited how "Blonde" didn't play it safe or deliver as a typical biopic would. "[Director Andrew] Dominik's take has its faults, but its unorthodox style and ambition make it leagues more intriguing and meaningful than the standard, play-it-safe biopic," said Randy Myers of the San Jose Mercury News. Essentially, it seems as if one's enjoyment or hatred of "Blonde" will depend entirely on their tolerance for misery, and how willing they are to ignore that for an incredible central performance.