Blonde ★★

Total failure as character study, reducing Monroe to a whimpering, stage-whispering cypher of hacky armchair psychoanalysis (If only her mummy loved her enough! If only her daddy had stuck around!) that teeters pretty undeniably into misogyny only on the grounds that Dominick seems unable to register that a woman could have any interiority or life beyond her suffering. As formal gambit, this tends to threaten to become interesting more often than it actually is, a lot of what is going on here to me registers as crushingly obvious and juvenile visual symbolism, and the stuff that is more opaque feels less mysterious than ill thought out. But there’s not nothing here – the film is extremely shallow, and at 167 minutes that shallowness is extremely frustrating more than anything, but there is maybe something to Blonde’s hollow obsession with images without meaning, a movie that is full of “pretty” images without substance, almost ready-made for cheap film Instagram accounts, no visual coherence or even real style beyond that of the cheap, glossy aesthetic. As far as cultural commentary goes, that’s at least kind of interesting, though experiencing it in a form this pompous and frankly boring doesn’t really me endear me to it, especially when it’s dragging a real, talented, and complicated woman through the shit with it. But at least it’s something to dig your teeth into. Still, don’t exactly recommend checking this out no matter how morbid your curiosity, it says very little that hasn’t already been said, only occasionally says any of it in a halfway interesting way, and it’s monumentally icky to boot.

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