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

Paul Schrader Did Not Mince Words About Andrew Dominik's Blonde

Andrew Dominik's "Blonde" premiered on Netflix — the first NC-17 movie ever to do so — on September 28, 2022, adapting author Joyce Carol Oates' 2000 novel of the same name. The film centers on Marilyn Monroe (Ana de Armas) as she goes from an unknown with dreams of becoming a star to a globally-recognized icon. Of course, her journey to the top of pop culture isn't an easy one. In fact, she endures no shortage of personal and professional tragedy along the way prior to her untimely death on August 4, 1962, at the age of 36.

From the moment it reached streaming, "Blonde" proved a particularly polarizing title. While some were intrigued by it and found the embellishments of Monroe's life story entertaining, others were quite upset over certain moments and felt it featured unnecessary problematic elements. It's neither a critic nor audience favorite, as evidenced by its disappointing Rotten Tomatoes scores, and has made near-constant headlines for the worst of reasons. Even those in the film industry have strong feelings about the film, such as Paul Schrader.

Schrader — a prolific writer and director known best for his work on titles like "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," and "First Reformed," to name a few — offered up his thoughts on "Blonde" shortly after it reached Netflix. He certainly didn't mince words.

Schrader feels Blonde fails to be a film about Marilyn Monroe

On October 7, 2022, Paul Schrader took to his Facebook page to discuss the buzz-worthy "Blonde," offering his own perspective on the film as a whole. For the most part, he makes it clear that the feature has numerous redeeming qualities, writing, "[Dominik's] kaleidoscopic approach, juxtaposing colors, screen formats, camera styles, music, sound effects, and image manipulation create an indelible character study." At the same time, however, he notes that "Blonde" suffers from one fatal flaw that permeates throughout the story: "Blonde" doesn't work as a recounting of Marilyn Monroe's life.

Schrader goes on, "Why the gleeful need to jump on Monroe's cadaver for a romp? Can't these fabulators trust their own creativeness? Was their need to exploit irresistible?" In his eyes, the film would've worked much better had it not gone out of its way in an attempt to try and tell Monroe's story — especially in the fictionalized manner that it did. Nevertheless, that's what Dominik and the rest of the team behind "Blonde" went for, and it suffered immensely for it. "Critics say he did Marilyn no favors. I think it's the other way around. MM did him no favors," Schrader concludes (via IndieWire).

"Blonde" is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, and as evidenced by Paul Schrader's analysis of it, it's something of a mixed bag, to say the least. Films about the life and career of Marilyn Monroe are a dime a dozen, though it stands to reason this one will forever stand out as one of the most controversial.