The film blonde , which comes out on Netflix today, has been dubbed a biopicabout Marilyn Monroe and her turbulent life. Director Andrew Dominik based theplot on the book of the same name about the famous actress. But that book is anovel, not a biography. Which parts of the story can we take for granted andwhich should we take with a grain of salt?
By Esther Villerius
“Marilyn Monroe is still alive – she’s reborn to tell her story; the story ofone made a star,” reads the novel’s blurb. ” blonde is a dazzling fictionalportrait of the complex emotional world of the idealized and beloved moviestar.”
The novel blonde , written by Joyce Carol Oates in 2000, is fiction.Inspired by a photo of a young Norma Jeane Baker, later known as MarilynMonroe, the author set to work.
Oates based her book on Monroe’s life, but added a lot of detail here andthere. This story subsequently became the basis for the film of the same name,which appeared on the market as a biopic: a biographical film.
There is no doubt about the credibility of well-known scenes, such as Monroe’sdress blowing up. But there are also moments in the film that are completelymade up. Director Dominik keeps the line between fact and fiction vague.
Affaires with the Kennedy brothers
Monroe once sang sultry to US President John F. Kennedy for his birthday. Thishappened in 1962, a few months before her death. That event sparked rumorsthat Monroe was having an affair with the then president. According tobiographer James Spada, the actress would also have had an affair with thepresident’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy.
The film hints at that long-running rumor about Monroe. In one scene, thesinger, played by Ana de Armas, is dragged through the hallways of the WhiteHouse to meet the US president. Monroe asks how she can help him, after whichKennedy forces her into various sexual acts.
The film also suggests that Monroe did not take his own life, but was murderedby Robert F. Kennedy to cover up these relationships. No proof has ever beenfound for this conspiracy theory.
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A love triangle and an abortion
Dominik also places Monroe in a love triangle with Charlie Chaplin Jr. andEdward G. Robinson Jr. In blonde we see so much gossip about the trio thatMonroe’s agent asks her to stop the affairs.
But Monroe has never experienced anything quite like it. In Chaplin’sautobiography, he only confirms that there was a short-lived affair betweenhim and Monroe.
In the film, the threesome’s relationships are ended by a pregnancy and theabortion that follows. Monroe becomes in blonde haunted by the thought ofher unborn child. She would have had that removed because she was afraid ofhereditary mental disorders. She also had two miscarriages.
There is no evidence for Monroe’s abortion. But she is said to have had threemiscarriages during her marriage to Arthur Miller.
‘It is what it is’
Monroe’s billowing dress is not a fabrication, but there is some debate aboutthe ramifications of this scene from The Seven Year Itch. In blonde JoeDiMaggio, who she was then married to, becomes so jealous that he beats herwith a belt. This moment suddenly comes in the film: the couple seems to haveit right in the period before.