Planned Parenthood Called Out Blonde For Promoting "Anti-Abortion Propaganda"
The Marilyn Monroe film includes a surreal scene with a CGI talking fetus.
Just like Marilyn Monroe herself, Blonde has just about everyone talking. But they’re not all saying great things. The surreal new biopic — which premiered in theaters on Sept. 16 and on Netflix on Sept. 28 — has received a fair share of criticism for its controversial storytelling, with complaints that the film is exploitative and cruel. But the most vehement take-down of the movie came from Planned Parenthood; the reproductive health organization accused Blonde of contributing to “anti-abortion propaganda” due to the film’s bizarre depiction of two coerced abortions.
Blonde doesn’t follow traditional biopic rules. Instead of faithfully depicting Monroe’s life, the movie fictionalizes dramatic life events, trying to get inside the iconic movie star’s head with surreal, experimental vignettes. It’s adapted from Joyce Carol Oates’ 2000 novel of the same name, which similarly deviated from actual events to explore the mythic rise of Monroe. This indulgent approach is perhaps most apparent in the film’s two abortions, in both of which Ana de Armas’ Monroe relents that she wants to keep her pregnancies, and becomes haunted by the procedures afterwards. The second scene includes a surprising conversation between Monroe and a CGI fetus, in which the talking fetus pleads to her, “You won’t hurt me this time, will you?”
On Sept. 30, a rep for Planned Parenthood called out the abortion-related scenes for bolstering the message of “anti-abortion zealots.”
“As film and TV shapes many people’s understanding of sexual and reproductive health, it’s critical these depictions accurately portray women’s real decisions and experiences,” Caren Spruch, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national director of arts and entertainment engagement, told The Hollywood Reporter. “While abortion is safe, essential health care, anti-abortion zealots have long contributed to abortion stigma by using medically inaccurate descriptions of fetuses and pregnancy. Andrew Dominik’s new film, Blonde, bolsters their message with a CGI-talking fetus, depicted to look like a fully formed baby.”
“Planned Parenthood respects artistic license and freedom,” Spruch continued. “However, false images only serve to reinforce misinformation and perpetuate stigma around sexual and reproductive health care. Every pregnancy outcome — especially abortion — should be portrayed sensitively, authentically and accurately in the media. We still have much work to do to ensure that everyone who has an abortion can see themselves onscreen. It is a shame that the creators of Blonde chose to contribute to anti-abortion propaganda and stigmatize people’s health care decisions instead.”
Blonde’s writer and director Andrew Dominik hasn’t yet responded directly to Planned Parenthood’s statement, but he has previously brushed off the anti-abortion criticism of his film as simply bad timing, given that it came out just a couple months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. “No one would have given a sh*t about that if I’d made the movie in 2008, and probably no one’s going to care about it in four years’ time,” Dominik told The Wrap on Sept. 27. “And the movie won’t have changed. It’s just what’s sort of going on.”
It just wouldn’t be a Marilyn Monroe project if it didn’t cause a stir, would it? Blonde is streaming on Netflix now.