shri swaminathan’s review published on Letterboxd:
For all it’s dazzling imagery and craft the result is quite inert. artistic choices of color and black and white and aspect ratios render meaningless. every time it tries to say something interesting about the trauma behind sexuality and celebrity it reduces a potential fable on identity crises to (literal) daddy issues. The movie figuratively throws norma around men like a sex toy and has pov shots that ask us to take place in the act — a harrowing choice that could’ve played to great effect if dominik wasn’t implying that Norma’s sexuality was part of the problem and reverted back to daddy issues that undercut the seriousness to near parody. I was thoroughly captivated by how much potential this narrative had but dominik is hell bent on choosing the most blunt and offensive choices possible. The Lynchian moments are quite effective but lack his signature sensitivity and empathy, thus losing all heft. sexual assault and violence are very real things that woman undergo every single day from the past to the present, and Marilyn was indeed a victim as well. Interjecting this with surrealistic ambiguity is disgusting. If the recurring theme is to call every person that hurts you "daddy" and the kismet of this whole narrative is this "daddy", congratulations on reducing one of our greatest screen presences that was a complex symbol of wit, sexuality and feminine intelligence into a one-dimensional misguided humiliation-kinked freak. You did it Dominik. Based on his latest statement, Bobby cannavale’s character was probably his self insert, and he too sees female sexuality as cheap and whorish. Ana De Armas, accent notwithstanding, is very good in doing what the movie asks of her, but that’s like kindling the fire as it is a very misguided performance in itself.