Is Blonde based on a true story?

Ana de Armas in BlondeNetflix

Blonde, a new film starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, has been one of Netflix’s most controversial movies – but is it based on a true story? Let us explain.

Blonde dropped on Netflix in September. It topped the streaming platform’s chart, but it’s been the subject of criticism for the way it portrays Marilyn Monroe’s life.

The film follows the life of a real person, Marilyn Monroe, from her volatile childhood to her even harder adult life. Therefore, one would expect the film to be based on true events.

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However, the film, which stars Ana de Armas in the lead role, takes a somewhat different approach to the truth. Allow us to explain…

Is Blonde based on a true story?

Well, yes and no. Blonde is based on a real person, and covers many real events which happened to her, but the way that the film portrays these aren’t in the typical biopic way, as hinted at by the trailer.

The film is actually based on the 2000 book of the same name by acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oats, which reimagines the life of the starlet by bringing in surreal elements. The book warps Monroe’s image in a somewhat similar way that the media of the time did, and still does. The author herself has claimed that the 700-page book is a work of fiction that aims to rearrange the actor’s life.

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The book uses Monroe as a symbol of America, tackling themes of feminism, religion, politics, and celebrity culture. It does so by structing the novel into three versions of her, the tragic Norma Jeanne Baker, the exploited Marylin Monroe, and the pure blonde woman.

Parts of her real life are left out, romantic figures remain elusive, and everything is never quite as it seems.

The film adaptation has been in the works since 2014, and has Oates’ full seal of approval. But ultimately, don’t go into the film expecting a clear depiction of the truth behind Marilyn Monroe’s life. Instead, get ready to see her mythologised in death as she was in life.

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Blonde is available to stream on Netflix now.

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