It’s hard to say how I feel about her. After watching many of her films, reading a few biographies over the years, digesting the songs and paraphernalia surrounding the icon, she is the symbol of sexuality, Hollywood, and American pop-culture. What words come to mind when you say her name? Foggy. Sad. Vulnerable. Mentally ill. Gorgeous. Sexy. Childlike. Old Soul. Some say she possessed a sensitivity beyond no other. (Lee Strasberg). Others thought she was empty-headed and not worth all the trouble (Billy Wilder).
Was she a great actress? Sometimes I thought she possessed brilliance. I liked her performance in The Asphalt Jungle, The Misfits, and Bus Stop. Most of the time I felt her frustration for being typecast as a dumb blonde, sexpot who was unaware of her surroundings as in Some Like it Hot–how could you mistake Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as female?
She was more a ghost of a person than real. Her flawless skin and moist mouth, her baby-girl voice and overwhelmed eyes. Were her smiles real? I can think of twenty other actresses I’d claim had more talent. She was a fashionista, but her clothes were put on her; she didn’t care about buying them. She is known as a sex-symbol, but the artificiality of the projected image and the woman behind the make-up tarnishes the beauty. Or does it? Is the Siamese twin part of her magic? The irony of Marilyn is her most interesting asset. She was a puppet of her times, and the men in her life damaged her. Would she have been happy had she bypassed the fame and found a simple guy with which to have a few kids including his companionship? Instead, men around the world sniffed and petted and devoured her. It strikes me she needed the former than the latter. She missed out on female companionship to balance out the expectations of becoming the sexual manifestation of men.
The weight of icon was a heavy burden that destroyed her. Yet, fifty years later, her reputation is copied and her sex appeal embraced around the world. If you were to crown someone as the 20th Century icon, I’d argue Marilyn Monroe is higher than Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson combined. What a sad triumph when you think about it. Icons are adored; is she a false one? All I know is the price of admission into pop-culture heaven is happiness. No thanks.
Did you like the recent biopic “My Week with Marilyn”? I enjoyed it a lot.
Did you see the HBO documentary called “Love, Marilyn”. I thought it quite entertaining.
What do you think of Marilyn Monroe?