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Ana De Armas breaks down as Blonde receives 14-minute standing ovation at Venice Film Festival


Ana De Armas broke down in tears as Blonde received a 14-minute standing ovation at its world premiere at Venice Film Festival.

The actress, 34, who plays Marilyn Monroe in the movie, attended Blonde’s debut on Thursday night, where it received rave reviews from critics while viewers were left equally impressed.

The screening of Blonde was reportedly met by a 14-minute standing ovation – the longest of any film at this year’s Festival, which is known for its long applauses.

Emotional: Ana De Armas broke down in tears as Blonde received a 14-minute standing ovation at its world premiere at Venice Film Festival

Emotional: Ana De Armas broke down in tears as Blonde received a 14-minute standing ovation at its world premiere at Venice Film Festival

The incredible response brought lead actress Ana and her co-star Adrien Brody – who plays Arthur Miller in Blonde – to tears, according to reports.

Ana stars as Marilyn/Norma Jeane Baker in Andrew’s Dominik adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates novel, which reimagines the life of the tragic Hollywood star and is a fictionalised take on her story.

Blonde, produced by Brad Pitt, has received rave reviews from critics, with Ana’s performance being described as ‘extraordinary’ by gushing critics.

The Telegraph’s critic Robbie Collin heaped praise on the fictionalised take on Marilyn’s life as he awarded the Netflix film a four-star review.

Star: Ana stars as Marilyn/Norma Jeane Baker in Andrew's Dominik adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates novel, which reimagines the life of the tragic Hollywood star

Star: Ana stars as Marilyn/Norma Jeane Baker in Andrew’s Dominik adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates novel, which reimagines the life of the tragic Hollywood star

Addressed criticism that Spanish star Ana would be using her natural accent in the role, he praised the actress for capturing Marilyn with ‘extraordinary psychological precision and real depth of feeling’.

‘Not only does she look the part, she understands that the part is a dismantling of the look,’ he said. 

‘Blonde is severe and serious-minded almost to a fault: you rather wonder how many viewers at home will soldier on to the end when it lands on Netflix after a limited theatrical release. 

‘In the cinema, though, it swallows you up like an uneasy dream, at once all too familiar and pricklingly unreal.’

Praise: The actress, 34, who plays Marilyn Monroe in the movie, was brought to tears as Blonde received the longest standing ovation at this year's Venice Film Festival

Praise: The actress, 34, who plays Marilyn Monroe in the movie, was brought to tears as Blonde received the longest standing ovation at this year’s Venice Film Festival 

But The Guardian’s Leslie Felperin gave a more conservative three-star review as it criticised the film for not giving Marilyn ‘much agency in her story’.

‘The psychological framework is very old-school Hollywood Freudian, which doesn’t give Monroe herself much agency in her story,’ the review said.

However, the film critic could not fault Ana’s performance, penning: ‘De Armas’s intense and ultimately persuasive performance goes a long way towards bringing the goddess down to earth, but will that be enough?’

Deadline described Ana as Dominik’s ‘muse’ as they addressed the ‘astonishing’ way Marilyn’s story was retold – through the lens of a fictionalised book, rather than autobiographical material.

Lead: Blonde, produced by Brad Pitt, has received rave reviews from critics, with Ana's performance being described as 'extraordinary' by gushing critics

Lead: Blonde, produced by Brad Pitt, has received rave reviews from critics, with Ana’s performance being described as ‘extraordinary’ by gushing critics

Critic Damon Wise went on to gush over the technological successes of the movie, but said it was Ana’s performance that carried the film. 

He wrote: ‘That the film works at all is down to the extraordinary performance at the heart of it: Ana de Armas carries the film squarely on her shoulders, depicting Monroe over a period of some 16 years, and the performance — actually more of an interpretation, helped by the actress’s liminal resemblance — is all-in, ferociously emotional but complex in its nuances as it explores the child-like sex symbol’s many paradoxes.’

‘For the brave and the curious, Blonde should prove fascinating, an engrossing slow-motion car wreck of a movie that puts you squarely in the driver’s seat of the oncoming vehicle,’ the review concluded.

Elsewhere, Vulture’s critic Bilge Ebiri noted that although Marilyn doesn’t have ‘agency’ in the story, the movie is never ‘boring’ due to its incredible cinematography.

Star power: The actress blew kisses at the adoring crowds as she received huge praise for Blonde

Star power: The actress blew kisses at the adoring crowds as she received huge praise for Blonde

‘Blonde is beautiful, mesmerizing, and, at times, deeply moving. But it’s also alienating — again, by design — constantly turning the camera on the viewer, sometimes with Marilyn directly addressing it,’ they said.

Needless to say the film has been met by an incredible response, with even Joyce Carol Oates – who wrote the 2000 biographical fiction novel Blonde – praising the movie adaptation.

Speaking at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland, Joyce said: ‘Andrew Dominik is a very brilliant director. 

‘I think he succeeded in showing the experience of Norma Jeane Baker from her perspective, rather than see it from the outside, the male gaze looking at a woman. He immersed himself in her perspective.’

Co-stars: Adrien Brody - who plays Arthur Miller in the movie - was also brought to tears as the amazing reaction to Blonde

Co-stars: Adrien Brody – who plays Arthur Miller in the movie – was also brought to tears as the amazing reaction to Blonde

The author also praised Ana’s portrayal of the Hollywood icon, particularly as she spent several hours transforming her look to resemble Marilyn for the Netflix movie.

The author said: ‘Transforming into Marilyn always took (Baker) hours. Ana de Armas, the wonderful actress who plays her, I think it took her like four hours of makeup.

‘So when you see them on the screen, they don’t really exist. It’s like a fantastic image, but to make it a livelihood is to endure a good deal of anguish.’

Ana previously revealed that she wore a bald cap to conceal her brunette locks during filming and was moved to tears when she saw her character’s wigs for the first time.

Amazing: At Venice Film Festival, Brad applauded the actress as they promoted the drama

Amazing: At Venice Film Festival, Brad applauded the actress as they promoted the drama 

She said: ‘(Marilyn) went through different shades of blonde from golden to really platinum, so for these wigs that are beautifully made, you can’t have anything dark underneath, so we had to make a bald cap every single day from my forehead to (around) my whole head.

‘I think I actually cried the first time I saw (the wigs) on. Probably because I was terrified. But I’m so proud.’

The Knives Out actress also described how she left her brain ‘fried’ by spending nine months training with a dialect coach to perfect Marilyn’s voice.

Ana said: ‘It was a big torture, so exhausting. My brain was fried.’

Tearful: Ana previously revealed that she wore a bald cap to conceal her brunette locks during filming and was moved to tears when she saw her character's wigs for the first time

Tearful: Ana previously revealed that she wore a bald cap to conceal her brunette locks during filming and was moved to tears when she saw her character’s wigs for the first time

Ana, who only learned English in 2015, recently admitted that she ‘didn’t grow up knowing Marilyn or her movies’.

‘I am proud to have Andrew’s trust and the chance to pull it off. I feel like whether you’re a Cuban or an American actress, anyone should feel the pressure.’

‘My job wasn’t to imitate her,’ defended Ana, who spent nine months working with dialect coach Jessica Drake.

‘I was interested in her feelings, her journey, her insecurities, and her voice, in the sense that she didn’t really have one.’

While Blonde is not fully-authorised by the Marilyn Monroe Estate, Ana’s performance has had plenty of early plaudits.

All-star cast: Joyce Carol Oates - who wrote the 2000 biographical fiction novel Blonde - has also praised the movie adaptation (pictured Ana and Adrien in Blonde)

All-star cast: Joyce Carol Oates – who wrote the 2000 biographical fiction novel Blonde – has also praised the movie adaptation (pictured Ana and Adrien in Blonde)

The rep for Monroe’s estate Marc Rosen told Variety on August 1: ‘Ana was a great casting choice as she captures Marilyn’s glamour, humanity, and vulnerability.’

Ana’s casting was also defended by two-time Oscar winner Brad, who’s one of Blonde’s six credited producers. 

‘She is phenomenal in it. That’s a tough dress to fill,’ the Plan B Entertainment co-founder told ET on August 1.

‘It was 10 years in the making. It wasn’t until we found Ana that we could get it across the finish line.’

Sensational: The Spanish actress looked incredible in a plunging pink dress as she smiled for the cameras at the event

Glowing: She added a glitzy silver choker with a sweet heart pendant

Sensational: The Spanish actress looked incredible in a plunging pink dress as she smiled for the cameras at Venice Film Festival

Glamorous: She styled her brunette locks styled in sculpted 50s-inspired waves

Glamorous: She styled her brunette locks styled in sculpted 50s-inspired waves

Elsewhere at Venice Film Festival, the British national anthem played in honour of the Queen, as Hollywood stars continued to grace the event’s red carpet on Thursday night.

A-listers – including Brad Pitt, Ana de Armas and Adrien Brody – arrived on day nine of the festival, as the world reeled from the historic announcement.

Screenings went ahead as usual in the Italian city, though other upcoming arts events including the Bafta Tea Party in Los Angeles, and the BBC Proms were cancelled following news of the monarch’s death.

Footage circulated online showed God Save The Queen booming out across the festival grounds, as punters milled around capturing videos in the evening.

Cast and crew: Brad and Ana joined director Andrew Dominik, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson and Dede Gardner at the event

Cast and crew: Brad and Ana joined director Andrew Dominik, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson and Dede Gardner at the event

Across the pond, the opening night of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) also went ahead as planned, though tributes were paid to the Queen’s legacy.

TIFF chief executive Cameron Bailey acknowledged that many guests would be ‘deeply affected’ by the news.

‘We extend our sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her passing,’ he said.

‘As we prepare to welcome Canadians and international guests to the festival, we know that many will be deeply affected by her death.

‘We keep her legacy in our memory,’ he added in the statement shared on the event’s official page.

WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING  

The Telegraph

Rating:

Robbie Collin heaped praise on the fictionalised take on Marilyn’s life as he awarded the film a four-star review.

Addressed criticism that Ana would be using her natural accent in the role, he praised the actress for capturing Marilyn with ‘extraordinary psychological precision and real depth of feeling’.

‘Not only does she look the part, she understands that the part is a dismantling of the look,’ he said.

The Guardian

Rating:

Leslie Felperin gave a more conservative three-star review as it criticised the film for not giving Marilyn ‘much agency in her story’.

‘The psychological framework is very old-school Hollywood Freudian, which doesn’t give Monroe herself much agency in her story,’ the review said.

However, the film critic could not fault Ana’s performance, penning: ‘De Armas’s intense and ultimately persuasive performance goes a long way towards bringing the goddess down to earth, but will that be enough?’

Deadline

Critic Damon Wise gushed over the technological successes of the movie, but said it was Ana’s performance that carried the film. 

He wrote: ‘That the film works at all is down to the extraordinary performance at the heart of it: Ana de Armas carries the film squarely on her shoulders, depicting Monroe over a period of some 16 years, and the performance — actually more of an interpretation, helped by the actress’s liminal resemblance — is all-in, ferociously emotional but complex in its nuances as it explores the child-like sex symbol’s many paradoxes.’

Vulture 

Bilge Ebiri noted that although Marilyn doesn’t have ‘agency’ in the story, the movie is never ‘boring’ due to its incredible cinematography.

‘Blonde is beautiful, mesmerizing, and, at times, deeply moving. But it’s also alienating — again, by design — constantly turning the camera on the viewer, sometimes with Marilyn directly addressing it,’ they said.

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