The talk of the town is Blonde, starring Ana de Armas & directed by Andrew Dominik. While there’s so much style to write about outside of this film & despite the controversy surrounding the film’s NC-17-rated scenes, I’m a little obsessed with it.
Ana’s performance is immaculate & most critics agreed that she is luminous. Recently, the actress shared her experience preparing for the role, as well as the famed “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” dance number from Marilyn Monroe’s 1953 smash hit Gentleman Prefer Blondes.
View the video below, along with Ana’s version for Blonde & the original performance that’s been copied by so many movies, television shows, music videos, & other performances in recent decades.
For this post, I’m putting on my academician & literati hat…
I read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates in 2010, out of my urgent love for Oates’ chilling writing & adoration of Marilyn Monroe as a fashion icon & screen legend. Knowing that the book was, in fact, marketed & labeled as a fictional biography, I voluntarily stepped into Oates’ well-researched & mystifying gaze upon Monroe’s troubled & glitzy life. By the time I finished the book, my heart sunk deeply into a place of grief for another version of the life of Hollywood’s most iconic of bombshells, ending in solemn tragedy, the same feeling I recognized from HBO’s Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996) & then later with My Week with Marilyn (2011), as well as Netflix’s documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes (2022), HBO’s documentary Love, Marilyn (2012), & Lifetime’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe (2015).
No matter the avenue by which a viewer enters the memory of Monroe, the outcome is always the same; at first, I suspected that Oates’ Blonde offered a revisionist hope, but by the end, that remains unattained because Monroe does die & never gets her glorious victory. That’s a blunt reality that can’t be changed, even if the fictional road to her demise is illustrated with fearless creative license.
However, not long after completing Oates’ novel, I started freelancing for Movie Buzzers, & the one bit of film news to have followed me from that era of my life has finally come to fruition with director Andrew Dominik’s interpretation of Oates’ heralded fiction, which has come under fire with deeply scathing criticism, after its long-awaited premiere.
Having read the book & nearly every major review of the controversial film, I stand firm in stating that Dominik serves Oates well. That’s not to say that the film is perfect, but it’s a loyal depiction of another artist’s depiction, & yes, these are depictions of a real woman—one who is still very much relevant at the forefront of the media 60 years after her death. These days, headlines about Monroe are less about her films & more about her experiences through the lens of the media & paparazzi. No matter the screen size, big or small, Monroe’s legacy is fraught with exploitation. Dominik serves one more example, albeit an explicit & unapologetic vision, that won’t victimize her more than she already was, especially as unauthorized biopics & mini series about other celebrities—who are still alive & vocal about their disapproval for such interpretations—are made by those with enough money to not care, consumed by the public, & awarded by the industry (see: Pam & Tommy).
The NC-17 rating for Blonde is a justified warning the audience chooses to join when streaming the film on Netflix; therefore, they should expect the unexpected. The sex is graphic. The nudity is excessive. The abuse is gutting. The fetuses—yes, plural—are unnecessary, but overall, vehicles that reinforce the myth of who the woman underneath the platinum persona was. Marilyn Monroe is a myth that killed Norma Jean Baker—that is Dominik & Oates’ story.
In addition, Ana de Armas, recognizable accent & all, is mesmerizing, even in tears, on a stage, when victimized, opposite her lovers, when nude, in a drug-induced hysteria, & when joyous. de Armas embodies Oates’ Monroe, spitting out every ugly side of a male-dominated, vicious Hollywood back at the audience. Moreover, de Armas conquers the demands of the role, sure to garner her an Oscar nomination.
The shifts from color to black & white are confusing, but it’s wiser to go with it than question it, in order to immerse the audience in the imagery that made Monroe sparkle & dimmed her at the same time.
The costumes, hair, & makeup are identical & uncanny to Monroe’s most gorgeous, provocative, & vulnerable moments captured on film & through photographs.
Ultimately, if your hope is to enjoy Blonde, do your research first to not only understand the source material, but the context in which Monroe lived. Do I recommend this film? Not to every one. However, there are far more shocking & formulaic forms of entertainment about fantastical lands with their own crude, misogynistic mythologies that the masses flock to. If you appreciate cinematic artistry that pushes boundaries, watch Blonde. If everything you’ve heard about it makes you pause, move on.
Also, read Oates’ short story “Three Girls” to see how the author focuses on Monroe in a shorter, more validating & charming fictional work that I’d love to see find its way to the big screen.
View the trailer & other videos about Blonde below. Happy Styling!
When I learned that Golden Globe-nominated actress Ana de Armas had arrived in Venice, I was so excited to refresh my feeds to see what the Cuban star would wear to the highly-anticipated premiere of her controversial film, Blonde, where she stars as Marilyn Monroe. Naturally, her red carpet look would be elegant & stunning, but also, I wondered if & how the gown would represent the bombshell icon at the center of the film.
In a bright pink pleated gown with a deep-v by Louis Vuitton, Ana graced the red carpet in true Hollywood fashion. Her gentle waves & sophisticated jewelry by Messika hearken to an era of glamour & ease that offers a refreshing twist on Barbiecore.
Additionally, the hue pays homage to Marilyn’s signature pink from her “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” musical sequence in the 1949 film Gentleman Prefer Blondes; likewise, the halter & pleated look of Ana’s dress are reminiscent of the iconic subway grate scene in The Seven Year Itch from 1955.
Escorted to the premiere by one of the film’s producers, Brad Pitt, Ana shines, which is no surprise. I hope this marks the beginning of an exciting & stylish press tour for the 2 hour 46-minute film that’s rated NC-17 & is based on the disorienting evocative fictional biography by Joyce Carol Oates that begins streaming on Netflix on September 28th, especially leading up to awards season!
Everyone is talking about Blonde, the new Netflix portrayal of the one & only, Marilyn Monroe, played by Cuban superstar Ana de Armas the full, official trailer was finally released after a teaser trailer & slew of breathtaking images that truly bring Monroe to life on screen in a way that’s always been attempted by previous interpretations of the bombshell’s life, career, & relationships.
Also in the film, Bobby Cannavale stars as Joe DiMaggio, Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller, & Garrett Dillahunt as President John F. Kennedy. Check out all of the below images to see more of what’s to come in this awards-magnet film:
However, Ana stole the spotlight in a shimmering Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023 gown, especially with all the buzz surrounding her upcoming portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the film adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates fictional biographyBlonde, directed by Andrew Dominik. After a breakout last two years in Knives Out and the recent 007 film, No Time to Die, Ana is one to watch on screen & on the red carpet. Every angle of this gown is beautiful & her poise, starpower, & style are breathtaking.
Additionally, the film’s cast includes Bridgerton alum Regé-Jean Page in a navy suit, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood rising star Julia Butters in a gold sparkling gown, Jessica Henwick from The Matrix Resurrections wearing a plunging v-neck gray gown, Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton, & Indian actor Dhanush. Also, in attendance for the premiere, lighting up the red carpet were Bridgerton star Simone Ashley in a black cut-out gown, the voice of Moana & Brazillian actress Any Gabrielly, model Kara Del Toro in a red ruched lace high-slit gown, model & YouTube star Emma Brooks in a black deep-v mini dress, & Disney star Kelli Berglund in a mixed printed mini dress.
For more access to the red carpet premiere of the film, check out the videos below to hear from Ana, Chris, & Ryan all about preparation for the action-packed The Gray Man & more!
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the stars in The Gray Man with the trailer below:
The film debuts on Netflix for your streaming pleasure on July 22nd! I know I can’t wait to see it–even though action films aren’t necessarily my go-to film choice, I’m a loyal follower of Ana de Armas & Ryan Gosling, happy to support their stylish endeavors with posts on Style Darling Daily, along with their on-screen accomplishments.
In honor of Independence Day, I’ve gathered fashion from the past in gorgeous red, white, & blue designs–blue, of course in shades of navy, royal, & pastel. Mostly dresses, the below slideshow & gallery showcases some of my favorite red carpet looks from not only recently, but also for the last decade (or more) at awards shows, premieres, film festivals, & more!