She was everywhere but seen nowhere
Last night I watched Blonde, the movie about Marilyn Monroe. I will not tell you about the director or the novel is based on. I will tell you about the shadow this film leaves behind.
The narrative delivers the story in drops. These are powerful and have intense effects on your consciousness. We are talking about a story that, even though its scenes might not be totally real, is definitely accurate regarding feelings. It is not about what happened to her as much as it is about what such a life does to a human being.
Photo by pure julia on Unsplash
The photography direction is on point. Every single scene is designed to offer the best possible setting to experience her emotions in your own body. The chosen colours and aspect ratio add to the message as much as the dialogue does. If this movie is about the dissociation between Norma Jean (her real name) and Marilyn, the film photography based on her classic pictures provides half of the information. You, as a viewer are not told or shown; you feel the story. And that is art.
When we think about a happy person, we often put them in a colourful environment with flowers, music and plenty of laughs. We still hold the misconception that someone who can seem to enjoy a particularly happy moment is not ill. We think that if they are showing their teeth, it means they are happy. This happens among the women in such high percentages that we came to consider that a woman who doesn’t smile is plain angry. There we have that hideous expression resting bitch face as if a woman taking a breath from cheerfulness meant a threat to those around her.
Going back to the topic, Blonde shows precisely that dichotomy in the most epic way possible. There is no glossier smile than that of Marilyn’s, but now we suspect what it was hiding underneath. The modern way of living has pushed many of us to isolation, spreading loneliness throughout the globe. I think I am not the only one who sees it. Maybe it is not a new problem, but I would say that, if anything, today mental health is becoming a blurry subject where myths are treated with the same respect as facts, and therefore an open conversation about the matter is more urgent than ever.
But why did this film touch me so much? I usually don’t care much about celebrities. I didn’t get into the debate about Deep and Heard because I don’t think we should be playing this public trial game in which we generalize the privileged life of a few famous people as if they could represent the actual issue. During the whole court process, we heard very little about where all this toxic behaviour came from. We witness their passionate fights and discussions without any emotional reflection at all as though we were watching a soap opera. I don’t care about drama and to be honest, I don’t care about Marilyn Monroe either. However, this is something else, this is the story of a child that felt incredibly abandoned, and to me, that’s one of the greatest failures of humanity. The pain that she suffered at such a young age not only stuck with her but shaped her personality so deeply that it became an important part of it. Nowadays we talk about mental health, but I often feel people don’t really understand how much a sorrowful past can do to a mind. On top of that, there are those creative and sensitive minds that in my opinion are more susceptible to the wonders and horrors of life. I dare to say Norma Jean is one of those minds.
It is a fortune to see the beauty clearly and soak yourself in it, but that clarity will also dunk you into the darkness of the world. You cannot choose, you may have them both.
I feel compelled to recommend this movie because I wish everybody to grow their compassion toward those that are feeling lost and hopeless in life. Deep down, however, I praise this work of art because I long for people to understand my struggle and personal grief more deeply. Or perhaps, I hope to detect others like me in a light conversation about cinema. Either way, I believe that this film made me go momentarily to my very own dark places, but at the same time, it made me feel understood because I was being drawn to the shadows with every other member of the audience.
It doesn’t matter if you are an acquaintance with mental illness or just a film lover, Blonde will make your body tickle.
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