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Netflix's most controversial movie is also its most popular right now

This is one that has seriously divided opinion.

Netflix's most controversial movie is also its most popular right now
Marc Chacksfield
05 October 2022

Netflix has a new number-one movie and the controversy surrounding it is unlike anything the service has seen before.

The signs were there that Andrew Dominik's Blonde, a film about Marilyn Monroe which is based on the Joyce Carol Oates book of the same name, was going to ruffle some feathers.

The movie was the first of Netflix's to earn an NC-17 rating, thanks to the sexual violence portrayed in the film.

Blonde is a hard watch, given its unflinching approach to its subject matter. Controversy aside, however, at the center of it all is a stunning performance by Ana de Armas. The actress is perfect as Monroe.

Netflix's most controversial movie is also its most popular right now

The reviews have certainly been mixed, with a 42% score on Rotten Tomatoes, which drops to 32% when you look at the audience rating.

Newsday notes: "In its resolute focus on just one aspect of what being Marilyn Monroe must have been like, the movie simply caricatures her once again."

The New Statesman reckons "Watching Blonde, it feels like Oates and Dominik hate Marilyn Monroe. In this film’s telling, she is doomed from the beginning, made of pain. You watch Ana de Armas’s Marilyn and think: where is the drive that must have existed?"

Mark Kermode writing for The Observer is a fan, though, giving in 4/5 and explaining: "At its heart this is a... fever dream of childhood trauma haunting adult life, replete with skin-crawlingly cruel visions of inquisitorial torture, brutal ordeals and hellish infernos – more Nightmare on Elm Street than My Week With Marilyn."

Empire also praises it, saying: "There’s a fine line between depicting the way Marilyn Monroe was underestimated, and joining in with that assessment. Blonde doesn’t always wind up the right side of that line, but has spectacular visual fireworks to spare."

Courting controversy

This hasn't put off viewers (although it would be interesting to see some stats on just how far through the movie they got) as FlixPatrol has the movie trending right now at number one - and by some distance, too.

The film is way ahead of two other Netflix Originals, Lou (which stars Allison Janney) and Do Revenge, the brilliant high-school movie by Thor: Love And Thunder writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson.

Interestingly, over on the TV side of Netflix its current number-one show is also stoking controversy. As we reported last week, DAHMER - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer story is a bleak, brutal look at the titular serial killer.

The biggest bugbear of this show for critics is the way it seems to revel in the violence and killings, although it does give the victims a voice throughout.

The full list of top 10 movies on Netflix right now are as follows:

1. Blonde
2. Lou
3. Do Revenge

4. Marauders

5. The Hunt

6. Athena

7. Plan A Plan B
8. The Ruins

9. The Boss Baby

10. Into the Deep: The Submarine Murder Case