The ‘startling’ new trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Marilyn Monroe biopic recently dropped, and it came along with an ‘adults only’ rating. But why exactly was it slapped with such a rare rating for the streaming giant?
Blonde – an adaptation of the best-selling, Pulitzer prize-nominated novel by Joyce Carol Oates of the same name – will be Netflix’s first original film to drop with an NC-17 rating, meaning it will likely be classed as an 18 in the UK.
Directed by Andrew Dominik, the flick stars Ana de Armas as Monroe and promises to offer a bold and uncompromising look the tragic star’s public and private life.
Check out the trailer below:
“There’s something in it to offend everyone,” Dominik said about the movie, adding that he hopes the film will offer a more nuanced and less clear-cut look at the actor's life, work and personal trauma.
Although rumours about the content of the film have been rife since the news of the rating was revealed, the most common reason that films are awarded the NC-17 rating by the MPAA is for containing 'explicit sexual content' and 'pervasive sexuality and graphic sexual dialogue,' which given the arc of Monroe’s life and legacy, seem to be a surefire bet for inclusion.
Nevertheless, Dominik has been uncompromising about the tone of the film and its content throughout production. In an interview with Screen Daily back in February, the director said that 'if the audience doesn't like it, that's the f***ing audience's problem. It's not running for public office.'
Elsewhere in the interview, the filmmaker also confirmed there would be a graphic depiction of sexual assault pulled straight from the pages of Carol Oates’ book, and credited the MeToo movement for allowing him to portray such sensitive subject matter on the big screen.
"[Before MeToo], nobody was interested in that sort of s*** - what it's like to be an unloved girl, or what it's like to go through the Hollywood meat-grinder," Dominik explained. "[The film is] critical of American sacred cows."
However, despite his uncompromising attitude, Dominik has nonetheless expressed surprise over the film's rating. “It’s not like depictions of happy sexuality,” he earlier said.
“It’s depictions of situations that are ambiguous. And Americans are really strange when it comes to sexual behavior, don’t you think? I don’t know why. They make more porn than anyone else in the world.”
(just a parenthetical aside--I have seen the rough cut of Andrew Dominick's adaptation & it is startling, brilliant, very disturbing & [perhaps most surprisingly] an utterly "feminist" interpretation... not sure that any male director has ever achieved anything this.) https://t.co/zUubjH5yqV— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) August 10, 2020
But despite the controversial subject matter, Carol Joyce Oates tweeted in 2020 that she had seen a rough cut of the film and was impressed with the adaptation of her work, calling it a 'startling, brilliant, very disturbing & [perhaps most surprisingly] an utterly 'feminist' interpretation' of her work.
Blonde is scheduled to be released on 23 September, 2022.
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