Blonde Netflix: Everything we know so far about the intriguing Marilyn Monroe movie

The trailer for the Marilyn Monroe Netflix movie Blonde has left audiences rapt and already in awe of Ana de Armas' performance

(Image credit: Netflix)

It seems like everyone has been talking about Blonde, the new Marilyn Monroe Netflix movie, for years now. Finally, the film is about to debut on the platform.

Starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, Blonde will premiere on Netflix on September 23, effectively becoming the only movie of 2022 to be rated NC-17 and the only one of its kind to ever debut on a streaming service.

What is Blonde about?

Adapted from an eponymous 2000 novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde looks at Norma Jeane Mortenson's journey to becoming Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe. 

As fans of the star know, Marilyn's life, although seemingly picture-perfect, was plagued by abuse, romantic problems, drug issues, and more. Back in 1962, at the mere age of 36, Marilyn was found dead from an overdose of barbiturates. 

As seen in the newly released trailer, the film, shot partly in black-and-white and partly in color, will dissect Marilyn's life in front of the camera while also showcasing her private day-to-day with former husbands Joe DiMaggio, the American baseball player, and Arthur Miller, the famous playwright.

"I know you're supposed to get used to it, but I just can't," Ana-as-Marilyn says in the trailer. "I play Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe. I can't face doing another scene with Marilyn Monroe."

The film's director, Andrew Dominik, has gone on the record about the contents of his work in connection to its much-talked-about rating.

"I was surprised [about the NC-17 rating]," Dominik said to Vulture a few months ago. "I thought we’d colored inside the lines. But I think if you’ve got a bunch of men and women in a boardroom talking about sexual behavior, maybe the men are going to be worried about what the women think. It’s just a weird time. It’s not like depictions of happy sexuality. It’s depictions of situations that are ambiguous. And Americans are really strange when it comes to sexual behavior."

The director also opened up about the essence of the film, and of Marilyn's character and troubled life, in his interview with Vulture.


(Image credit: Netflix)

"The idea behind Blonde is basically it details a childhood drama, and mistaken ideas that she carries into her adult life, and she sees the world through the lens of those ideas," he said to the outlet. "And they necessitate a split into a public self which can be loved, and a private self which has no hope of achieving intimacy. She's not seeing the world, really; she’s seeing herself. [...] On a simplest level, it's about an unwanted child who becomes the most wanted person in the world and can't deal with all of that desire coming at them."

According to Netflix's official synopsis, "[Blonde] boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood's most enduring icons, Marlyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves."

Who is in the cast of Blonde?

Blonde, which runs almost three hours long, stars Ana as the "older" Marilyn and casts Lily Fisher as her younger counterpart. 

Fans haven't been shy about expressing their excitement over the rest of the casting selections as well, including Bobby Cannavale as Joe, Adrien Brody as Arthur, and Caspar Phillipson as John F. Kennedy, who was rumored to have engaged in an extramarital affair with Marilyn throughout the years.

Julianne Nicholson has also signed on to the movie, playing Marilyn's mother, Gladys Pearl Baker Mortensen Eley. Allan "Whitey" Snyder, Marilyn's well-known personal makeup artist, will be played by Toby Huss.

It's clear that Hollywood gurus have a lot of faith in the movie already. In fact, iconic actor Brad Pitt has signed on as a producer. Christina Oh of Grey's Anatomy fame is also listed as an executive producer on the project.

Ana de Armas

(Image credit: Netflix)

How to watch Blonde...

Blonde will debut in its entirety on Netflix on September 23. 

The film enjoyed its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 8. 

Folks in New York will be able to catch the production in theaters ahead of its Netflix debut and the movie will be released across the US and UK on September 23. 

Blonde will have to offer audiences a brief run in movie theaters to be considered as a possible nomination for this year's upcoming Oscars, which will air in March of 2023. 

What are critics saying about Blonde?

The first reviews for Blonde are trickling in, following the film's worldwide release at the 79th Venice International Film Festival last week, which earned a 14-minute standing ovation.

Overall, experts are praising Ana's performance. 

Richard Lawson particularly commended Ana's acting in his review for Vanity Fair. "De Armas is fiercely, almost scarily committed to the role, maintaining high and focused energy through every torrent of tears and screams and traumas," he wrote. "We don’t necessarily get to know the fullness of Monroe; the movie offers precious little of her at work, or in her social element. It’s pretty much all pain, all the time. But in rendering that so potently, de Armas fulfills the mission of Dominik’s film, crafting a vivid and frightening picture of the madness of fame."

In his writeup, Richard also indirectly commented on the backlash that Ana's casting received, with plenty of people noting that her Cuban background did not match Marilyn's. 

"Ana de Armas can’t do much to conceal her Cuban accent as she approximates Monroe’s breathy melodiousness, but maybe that’s part of the point of casting her," he wrote. "This is a kind of crucible for de Armas, too, one also subjected to the weight of our attention. So it makes sense that some of the actor should remain, even as she dives deep into her act of transformation."

As for the movie as a whole, a lot of reviews paid attention to the "horror genre-like" way that Andrew had chosen to present his work, with Damon Wise of Deadline actually comparing it to David Lynch's films.

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.