I thought it was pretty good and had a great deal more merit outside visuals, score and performance (all of which were fantastic, even if de Armas' accent never lost its Cuban twang) than its predictable ravenous critics are giving it credit for. That it played so selectively and liberally with the details of Marilyn/Norma's life should have been a hint that it wasn't really about her per se but about what she represented and how it played into a certain psyche. It seemed to me a story about abandonment and desperation for connection, of hope sought in the wrong places and inevitably unfulfilled. Norma desperately sought a replacement for her absent father and validation of her need for love, yet found herself abused by all those she reached out to, and the 'love' from the public for Marilyn was just as predatory, empty and sexual. Every time she thought she found a connection, it was taken away from her, whether children through miscarriage and abortion, or the drink and drugs she uses to cope with her fame creating a separation between her and Arthur Miller, the only man who seemed to genuinely care for her. When she gets the note at the end, wrapped up in a memento echoing her childhood, she finally realises that what she had longed for her entire life was a mirage.
These themes land well, I think, not only in today's world of social media getting everyone addicted to a kind of false validation from the faceless crowd, but also the post-lockdown world where the effects of enforced isolation have fractured how people relate to each other. Some of the visual gimmicks were too trashy or obvious for their own good (talking to the fetus and image of the father; JFK's orgasm reflected in the action of the B-movie he's watching on TV, etc.) and the litany of horrors and abuses did get a bit exhausting and repetitive after a while. The time jumps and disinterest in getting to know Norma as a person beyond her tragedies also kept the film at a distance from its main character, which is thematically appropriate but made it hard to connect to the film on anything but an analytical level. I can see why some thought it exploitative, but for me exploitation is only interested in pure indulgence and sensation, whereas Blonde to me was deploying its horrors for a deeper point, even with a mixed success rate. It's a 6 or 7 out of 10 for me.