Dear Brit Marling: it’s about your hair.

4 July 2013

When we first meet your character in the new film The East — which I’d anticipated for a couple of months — we see her looking like this:


Brown hair, carefully coiffed, even a little dull. Jane (Marling) works for a slightly creepy company somewhat akin to Blackwater — and their latest mission is to get someone inside a new radical environmental protest organization called The East, which stages carefully-planned “jams” to punish the corporate leaders whose companies destroy the planet and ruin citizens’ health. If a CEO’s company has poisoned the ocean with an oil spill, for example, The East works a jam to dump oil into his house. When she’s chosen by her firm to infiltrate the group and expose them, Jane goes into her motel bathroom one night on her way into the underworld, and dyes her hair blonde using one of those dye kits from the drugstore.

When she dries it, she looks at herself in the mirror and we have our first embarrassingly stupid scene in the film: she seems surprised by how good it looks.


Everything is wrong with the hair:

  1. Why would a woman going undercover with a fringe group for months dye her hair? She’d only have to keep touching up the roots. This is a group that eats food out of garbage cans. They’re going to notice when the blonde grows out.
  2. I don’t think it’s very easy to dye brown hair blonde, but I might be wrong.
  3. There is no @#$%ing way on earth a home dye kit from the drugstore creates THAT head of hair. Look at that blonde! Indeed, we look at it throughout the film in numerous shots that show the gorgeous variety of colors in her hair.

In short, Brit, your hair blew the plausibility of the film’s story.


Brit, you are the most successful indie actor-writer I can think of right now. Your collaboration with Zal Batmanglij — he directs, you act, and together you write the screenplay — has produced three films now that have received wide distribution and critical attention. Hell, you get your indie films into comparatively mainstream theaters, for god’s sake (Another Earth, Sound of My Voiceand The East). Most of all, you feature great female leads and interesting stories that are always worth watching. When you come out next year with another film, I’ll be there to see it.

But you have to get over your own hair.


Yes. You have gorgeous hair. You will always have gorgeous hair. But you run the risk of being The Hair at this rate, and in The East your hair ruined the plausibility of your story. You have to act over your hair, not behind it … and you need to think seriously before allowing it a bigger starring role than you take yourself. Otherwise you’ll become a hack.

Okay, maybe I have a hair obsession, what with my hair piece back in January and random comments dropped in on a semi-regular basis. But I’m right on this one, Brit. Stop it. I need you to keep making interesting films with female leads and unusual stories.



6 Responses to “Dear Brit Marling: it’s about your hair.”

  1. fedoralady Says:

    Brit’s hair and my hair appear to be close to the same length and thickness and I can tell you it would take two boxes of drugstore hair color to even cover it properly (lose your job and you start DIY)

    As dark as it appears to be in the first screencap I doubt a single-process haircolor such as the one I (former blonde turned grey-white) would work to achieve that degree of blonde. She would likely need to use a product to strip the natural color and then another to tone it to the blonde of her choice. Bit more complicated then just grabbing a Box o’ Blonde off the CVS shelf.

    And you’re right–you don’t get that kind of blonde from your typical home kits. You just don’t.

    Brit’s an impressive talent without a doubt– and I agree, it’s a shame to let something like her admittedly glorious hair rob a project of its credibility.
    I remember hearing some similar comments about Jessica Chastain’s hair looking too stylist-fresh in some scenes in :”Zero Dark Thirty.” (which I still haven’t seen).

    • Didion Says:

      Thanks for confirming my suspicions, FedoraLady, because as I pressed “publish” I wondered whether I just don’t know my products. (Except from my goth friends in college who knew how to peroxide their hair in order to get the blackest possible black.) I wasn’t able to find more screen caps, but there are numerous scenes in which we see the full glory of her hair — darker underneath, beautifully sun-streaked throughout, lighter and finer at the temples. In contrast, the wig Marling wears in the early scenes is clearly fake.

      • fedoralady Says:

        And to be fair, they HAVE improved quality of home color products over the years, but still–to get the dimension of color tones such as you are referencing would be very tricky to do without multiple products AND somebody with some expertise to help you apply them. I mean, I have to get my hubby to help me just to make sure all the grey is covered in this mop of mine with the product applied evenly (he does a good job, too 😉 )

  2. Todd Says:

    She looks much better as a brunette. I like when her hair matches her eyebrows.

  3. Peter Says:

    Brit is perfect …

  4. cris Says:

    This is great, so true and hilarious!

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