Why is Netflix’s ‘Blonde’ rated NC-17?

Ana de Armas in character as Marilyn Monroe smoking a cigarette mid-conversation in a still from ‘Blonde’ on Netflix
Image via Netflix

Warning: The following article contains mentions of sexual assault. Please read with care.

The much-anticipated trailer for Netflix’s biographical phenomenon Blonde has officially been released, and eagle-eyed subscribers are already gearing up to witness the fictionalized spectacle surrounding iconic actress Marilyn Monroe and her controversial life. Monroe will be portrayed by Knives Out star Ana de Armas, and amidst a wave of controversy, the film has been slapped with an NC-17 rating. And while early reviews have praised the incredible acting prowess of de Armas, others seem to be stuck on the reasoning behind the jaw-dropping rating — which will effectively mark the first time a Netflix film has been rated NC-17 in the streaming giant’s history.

But, before we delve into why Blonde received an NC-17 rating, let’s first examine what exactly the rating means in cinema.

What does NC-17 mean?

Ana De Armas as Marilyn Monroe
via Netflix

Simply put, the NC-17 rating, which is rarely implemented in the movie industry, is a rating given to a movie that features strong sexual content and should strictly be seen by viewers in the over-18 market. The NC-17 rating helps to protect a film’s overuse of sexual situations and graphics, which assists in keeping parents from allowing minors to watch the movie. And while the typical R rating is the safer option in cinema, the NC-17 rating has proven to be more efficient for ticket sales — meaning, in this case, it could likely garner a larger audience for Netflix.

Why is Blonde rated NC-17?

Ana de Armas Netflix 'Blonde'
via Netflix

As mentioned before, Blonde receiving an NC-17 rating has the opportunity to provide more viewership for Netflix. The allure of the scandalous rating could possibly attract a broader audience that wishes to witness the fictionalized life of one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood. And if early tweets from users are any indication, then it’s safe to say that Netflix subscribers are more than ready to strap in for the ride.

On the other hand, the movie’s apparent sexual content has been considered too graphic for minors to see — including a scene that depicts sexual assault, which might be harmful to viewers. Director Andrew Dominik has confirmed the aforementioned scene, which includes an act of sexual assault that was taken from Joyce Carol Oates’ novel — serving as the source material for the upcoming movie.

Blonde will be available to stream on Netflix on Sept. 23.