A new sketch from this week’s episode mocked the film’s overwhelmingly negative approach to Marilyn Monroe’s life. Chloe Fineman plays the iconic star (technically, she plays Ana de Armas playing the iconic star) wearing the iconic pink dress from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” She’s nervous about filming a big scene, so two studio workers (Brendan Gleeson and Heidi Gardner) are brought in to lift her spirits by reading her fan mail.
But, in true “Blonde” fashion, it quickly turns into a beratement session. “Marilyn, you are a whore,” Gardner’s first letter reads. “A blonde tramp. No one will ever love you, you disgusting tramp.” Things only escalate from there, as the letters become increasingly caustic and misogynistic, reflecting what many feel is the film’s attitude towards Marilyn Monroe.
The “SNL” writers are far from the first people to notice the film’s excessive cruelty. In IndieWire’s recent Triple Take about the movie, Kate Erbland wrote that “Dominik’s film isn’t just cruel because the world was cruel toward Marilyn; its cruelty runs deeper than that. It’s not all about turning that pain back on the audience, but redoubling it on de Armas’ Marilyn avatar. There’s nothing more to it: she hurts, so you will hurt, too.”
And in her IndieWire review of the film, Sophie Monks Kaufman wrote that “it’s not that Andrew Dominik has made an implausible film about the experience of a poor young beauty haunted by fears of madness who was chewed up by the Hollywood machine, the issue is that he has made a film inspired by Marilyn Monroe where she is monotonously characterized as a victim. To watch any of her movies is to feast on a luminous performer whose intelligence is sublimated beneath a knowingly hypnotic physical affect. Her legacy is still best preserved through her talents, rather than through a film that might as well be another face printed by Andy Warhol’s factory — an X-rayed version, so that instead of bright pop art colors, the stencil is simply of a skull.”
Watch the “SNL” sketch below.