Andrew Dominik: Joyce Carol Oates defends Blonde director’s screenplay as ‘remarkably feminist’

Joyce Carol Oates, who wrote the book on which Blonde is based, has given her verdict on the controversial adaptation.

The film stars Ana De Armas as Marilyn Monroe and features many imagined scenes from the star’s life.

Oates has since weighed in on the Netflix adaptation of her 1999 book, which presents a fictionalised take on the American icon’s life.

The author – who was not involved in the movie’s production – deemed it a “brilliant work of cinematic art obviously not for everyone”.

Since then, she has also defended director Andrew Dominik against criticism of sexism and misogyny in his portrayal of Monroe.

Since its release last week, the 18-rated movie has attracted huge controversy with many viewers criticising the film as being “exploitative” of the star.

It features multiple scenes of violent sexual assault and also depicts Monroe as having had two illegal abortions against her, scenes which have been criticised by viewers and Planned Parenthood as “anti-abortion propaganda”.

Replying to another person defending Dominik against “attacks” made on him “because he’s a man”, Oates wrote: “I haven’t seen these attacks but it is unfortunate since Andrew Dominik’s screenplay (which I’d seen years ago) had struck me as remarkably ‘feminist’ in intention…

 (Joyce Carol Oates Twitter)
(Joyce Carol Oates Twitter)

“Here was a male perspective near-identical with the primary aims of #MeToo: telling women’s stories long censored.”

One person responded to Oates, writing: “Do you believe Smooth Talk would have been a better film if it had contained graphic scenes of the crime? I believe its power in part came from omitting it…”

The author responded: “I believe in respective film directors & actors & understanding that film is a totally different medium from prose fiction even if it is ‘based’ upon the prose fiction.”

As well as the abortion scenes, one other moment in the film to cause controversy involves Marilyn performing a sex act on a character closely resembling JFK (the actor, Caspar Phillipson, also previously played the president in Jackie).

Many viewers have complained that the film is “unwatchable”, stating on social media that they were unable to make it more than 20 minutes into Blonde before abandoning it.