In the last week of Sept., Netflix gave us “Blonde,” a dramatic film that chronicles the tragic events in the life of Marilyn Monroe, one of the most iconic Hollywood figures in American culture.
There are many different opinions about the film.
One of the most prominent, even before its release, was about the star who plays Monroe. Her name is Ana de Armas and she is a Cuban-born actress whose native language is not English.
Criticism started months before when Netflix revealed the trailer of the movie. Some users showed their displeasure with the film on different social media platforms when they noticed the actress’ Spanish accent.
Some said they felt uncomfortable listening to her, as her accent was taking away the realism of portraying Monroe. A few others commented that De Armas simply didn’t deserve the role and that they wanted to see an American actress play the role instead.
I understand that it caused a lot of doubt and concern that a Latina actress whose first language is not English would portray such an iconic American personality. But the number of people complaining about this is exaggerated and unnecessary.
I think De Armas’ performance in Blonde was outstanding. She did an amazing job capturing both the look and essence of Monroe. And yes, her accent did come through a bit during the film, but it didn’t interfere with her performance at all.
All bilingual people who had to learn a language from scratch after passing the ideal stage of learning from zero to six years old know that the hardest thing to change is the accent.
It is very difficult to hide it entirely, I say this from my own experience. I have been speaking English for about five years of my life and, even though I speak it every day, I still have my Spanish accent and it’s noticeable when speaking.
Now, in the case of De Armas, it is completely different and honestly amazing. She moved to Los Angeles in 2014 and got different roles in movies like “Blade Runner 2049,” “War Dogs” and “No Time To Die.”
In an interview at AOL BUILD in New York City in 2016, De Armas confessed that when she moved to Los Angeles she didn’t know any English. So for four months, she had to take seven-hour-a-day English classes all because her “life depended on it,” she said in another interview with Vanity Fair.
Definitely, De Armas is an example of courage and motivation that I think, if many would take the time to learn, they would realize all the sacrifices she has made in order to succeed.
I am bothered by the fact that many of these people judge the actress as soon as they find out about her ethnicity, and automatically label her as a bad actress— when many of them didn’t even know her.
I am outraged at the lack of empathy we experience today, especially in the entertainment world. This generation claims to be in an age of acceptance and equality for all, and yet, actors of different races and nationalities have to face a vast amount of criticism for playing American roles.
It’s about time that Hollywood— and the general public— let important roles go to actors/actresses who truly deserve them, based on their talent and hard work.
Personally, seeing Latino celebrities like De Armas get ahead in their careers and represent their culture and language has made me proud. I’m sure many other Latinos feel proud as well.
For people who judge De Armas for playing Marilyn Monroe and refuse to see the movie because of that, give the movie and the actress a chance. But if you still don’t want to see it, I just ask you to be polite and non-judgmental.