In a move some are seeing as an attempt to create a buzz before its impending release, Netflix decided to slap the upcoming fictional biopic Blonde with the dreaded NC-17 rating. That has many, including lead actress Ana de Armas, wondering why.
Armas did an interview with French magazine L’Officiel , where she revealed how puzzled she was over the decision to slap such a rating on the film. “I didn’t understand why that happened. I can tell you a number of shows or movies that are way more explicit with a lot more sexual content than Blonde.”
She continued, “But to tell this story it is important to show all these moments in Marilyn’s life that made her end up the way that she did. It needed to be explained. Everyone [in the cast] knew we had to go to uncomfortable places. I wasn’t the only one.”
According to some reports, the film may or may not have cut out a rape scene present in Joyce Carol Oates’ original novel, but even if it managed to survive the final cut, it doesn’t explain the NC-17 rating. After all, many prominent films over the last few decades have shown brutal rape scenes without tipping the scales over anything beyond an R rating.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop director Andrew Dominik from lashing out at critics of the rating in an interview with ScreenDaily , complete with vulgar language to drive home his point. “It’s a demanding movie. If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the f***ing audience’s problem.” It seems the trend of attacking the customer continues apace in Hollywood circles.
“It’s not running for public office,” the director continued. “It’s an NC-17 movie about Marilyn Monroe, it’s kind of what you want, right? I want to go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story.”
Netflix’s own trailer for the film shows the NC-17 rating at the end, yet gives no reason beyond the rather tame-sounding “some sexual content.” Typically, modern movie ratings tend to be a bit more descriptive when it comes to potentially offensive content.
He then let the cat out of the bag when he talked about the real reason why Blonde was greenlit – the contribution of the #MeToo movement. He claimed the film could not have been made without the controversial and short-lived movement “because 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.”
This is an ironic statement from a guy working in Hollywood – a house known for routinely covering up abuse of women at the hands of rich and powerful media moguls like Harvey Weinstein, while praising the “Godly” talents of guys like Roman Polanski, who once drugged, raped and sodomized a 13-year old girl, and was never held accountable for it.
For its part, the #MeToo movement become embroiled in multiple scandals during its short lifespan. It refused to call out Virginia’s Democrat Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax over sexual assault allegations in 2019, while cheering U.S. President Joe Biden, despite several women accusing him of the same. The movement finally met its demise when actor Johnny Depp successfully won his defamation lawsuit against ex Amber Heard, completely upending its entire ideological narrative.
Whatever the case, it feels as if Blonde’s NC-17 rating is little more than an attempt to generate manufactured controversy before release, which is understandable, given what horrible shape Netflix is in. The company embraced radical Wokeness to its own detriment, which caused share prices to collapse from $588.55 per share just one year ago, to $232.68 as of this writing.
The network has also been stepping on rakes with the announcement of shared password crackdowns, the Cuties controversy, and embarrassing failures such as the Resident Evil series adaptation. The NC-17 rating is the first in the network’s history, which may be an attempt to spark controversial publicity in an effort to get people to tune in.
If that’s the direction the network wants to go, it may not like the outcome.