Netflix's Marilyn Monroe biopic draws concern over 'sickening' scenes of sexual assault

Emily Brown

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Netflix's Marilyn Monroe biopic draws concern over 'sickening' scenes of sexual assault

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Warning: Contains references to sexual assault

Netflix's new Marilyn Monroe movie hasn't even arrived on the streaming service yet, but already some early viewers have criticisms for the film over a shocking scene involving sexual assault.

Blonde is set to start streaming on Netflix on 28 September but it has already arrived in select theatres, where Ana de Armas is taking on the iconic role of Monroe on the big screen.

She is joined in the film by Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, Julianne Nicholson, and Caspar Phillipson, who plays John F. Kennedy, and it's a scene between Phillipson and de Armas that has prompted some backlash.

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The movie, which is a fictionalised take on Monroe's life, has been revealed to include multiple depictions of sexual assault and violence, including one scene in which JFK forces Monroe to perform oral sex on him before he apparently rapes her.

The depiction of oral sex is said to last more than a minute and a half, with the camera focusing on Monroe's shocked face as the events unfold and a voice inside her head encourages her not to cough, 'puke' or gag.

The scene later cuts to JFK jumping on top of Monroe on the bed, before cutting to her waking up with bruises on her body, after which she runs to the bathroom to throw up.

Both critics and general viewers have commented on the scene, with Vulture describing the moment as ''incredibly tense, disturbing, extremely uncomfortable, and exploitative' while the Daily Beast described it as 'haunting'.

On Twitter, viewers branded the events as 'sickening' and 'unnecessary', with one person writing: "The graphic rape scene in Blonde is not for the sake of art. It’s for the sake of making up fantasies of a dead woman who once said to not make her a joke."

Director Andrew Dominik has previously opened up about the rape scene, which stems from the book Blonde is based on by Joyce Carol Oates.

Per Screen Daily, he said there was some back-and-forth with Netflix over the inclusion of the scene, saying: "It’s controversial, there’s a bit for them to swallow. It’s a demanding movie — it is what it is, it says what it says. And if the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the f*cking audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office.”

UNILAD has reached out to Dominik and Netflix for further comment.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas 

Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays 

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Netflix

Emily Brown
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