Blonde, a fictionalized representation of the rise and fall of popular Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe, is all set for a Netflix release in September.
Inspired by a novel of the same name, Blonde stars Ana De Armas as Monroe. Directed by Andrew Dominik, the film leans more towards a dramatized representation rather than sticking to the very rooted realities of the actress' life.
The most acclaimed biopics of the past, such as David Fincher's The Social Network and Morten Tyldum's The Imitation Game, have always sought to dramatise events to make them cinematic enough for the screen. While films such as Gandhi still paved their way to greatness with minimal meddling with reality, it is a rare case.
What makes Blonde interesting is that the life of Marilyn Monroe is popularly cinematic in itself. To further adapt it to the screen and create engaging drama to retell as well as add value to a story that has been told time and again, poses quite a challenge.
Treading the fine line between drama and reality, although part of every film, would be trickier in a biopic such as this.
Here, we take a look at some other biopics ahead of Ana De Armas' Blonde, which arrives on Netflix this September.
Mank and four other biopics similar to Ana De Armas starrer Blonde
1) The Iron Lady (2011)
Starring Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady tells the story of British politician Margaret Thatcher and is as personal as it is political. Drawing some solid parallels between Thatcher's public and private existence, the film merges the two to offer a layered insight into her life.
Meryl Streep's performance as The Iron Lady is close to perfect as she brings life to the character in all her strengths, slaws and humanity. The film is similar to Blonde as it explores the life of a public personality whose personal life was of great interest to commoners. While research becomes much easier in such cases, it is equally difficult to retell stories that are already out in public.
2) Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
In stark contrast to Blonde, Dallas Buyers Club revolves around a man with much lesser limelight on him. As a result, it focuses on specific events in the man's life, and not his life in general. It follows the story of a cowboy who is diagnosed with AIDS and goes around the system to supply a medicine that could help patients live longer.
Matthew McConaughey gives a wonderful performance and is one of the greatest assets in the film. Although it is quite different from the vibe that Blonde is going for, Dallas Buyers Club is also a dramatised portrayal of an extraordinary life. Some great writing and grounded making, don't just make this film a great biopic, but a great film in itself.
3) Mank (2020)
Mank is probably the closest you could get to Blonde, when it comes to the themes these films are looking to explore. Even in terms of style, the use of black and white filming to bring about a sense of the past and the non-linearity of the story are common to both. Mank is a unique film when compared to the rest of David Fincher's filmography.
Mank actively comments on Hollywood in the 1930s, through the perspective of an alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he struggles to finish his masterpiece, Citizen Kane. Just as the name Marilyn Monroe screams Hollywood, Citizen Kane does too. Both the films tell the stories of subjects who were at the centre of the industry at the time.
4) Tick, Tick...BOOM! (2021)
Andrew Garfield's outstanding performance as a struggling playwright and composer, along with some brilliant writing and crisp editing, make Tick, Tick...BOOM!, one of the finest biographical dramas to come out of Hollywood. The film explores friendship, love, career, restraints of age and ideas of success.
The film actively comments on the larger psyche of the industry that its characters want to be a part of. Garfield and the other cast members explore the ways of the entertainment industry and the ways of the world in general. Tick, tick...BOOM! is quick in recreating the world it is set in, something Blonde seemingly aims to do.
5) Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
An attempt at recreating the very dramatic life of Freddie Mercury, this Rami Malek starrer portrays the band Queen's journey to stardom and explores all the downsides that came with it. It is thought-provoking in its questions about success, identity and wealth. The film is a musical drama and received much love right after its release.
The film is not just like Blonde, but is similar to most biographies in its sense of what stories should look like. It is a full-fledged portrait of a man rather than a hagiography made to please its subject. Bohemian Rhapsody is the perfect example of a film that is faithful to its story over everything else.
Biographical dramas don't just give scope to the filmmakers to comment on the real world they are set in, but also create space for some real value-adding perspectives from the writers and makers.
Blonde is expected to release on Netflix on September 28, 2022.