Morgan DeAtley’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s odd to me that some people have turned to exaggeration and moral condemnation to tear this movie down when there are more than enough bad or misguided things that actually are in the film that one could choose from to do that. All of these are really just symptoms of the problem at the core of the film, which is that Dominik, one of the most gifted filmmakers alive, if you ask me, fails to convince us that he actually gives a shit about the material here, whether it be the source novel or the elements of Monroe’s life that are being adapted by the film. Instead, he seems to use this as a springboard to kind of just… dick around with as many disparate elements of arthouse form as he can with little to no regard for how they might apply to the story or characters themselves. Hell, the film doesn’t really feel like it even has any characters, we don’t know anything about any of these people, they are defined by their suffering and they only say things that sound copy-pasted from other movies like this.
Outside of a handful of moments (I mainly think of those between de Armas and Brody), any emotion the film attempts to conjure falls flat because the film only has one mode, misery, and any deviations are quickly and firmly corrected. And this isn’t even a complete idea in and of itself, the film just off-handedly gestures at its ideas as if that were a substitute for actual exploration. The fact that this is supposedly a passion project for Dominik is baffling to me, because it doesn’t feel like anyone other than the actors (God bless Ana de Armas, she is a truly gifted actor giving it her all, but her casting here makes no sense) felt anything for the story or characters. And that’s ultimately what’s led to how polarizing the reception to this has been, I think. It’s so detached that anyone can project just about any reaction onto it. And I think there could be something to be said for that if the film wasn’t so dramatically inert.
Whether that polarization is what anyone involved in the creation intended is unclear, and frankly, I don’t think it matters, because the end result just doesn’t mean much of anything.