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Starring: Ana de Armas. Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Julianne Nicholson, Caspar Phillipson, Toby Huss, Sara Paxton, David Warshofsky, Evan Williams, Xavier Samuel, Garret Dillahunt, Scoot McNairy
OUR RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Netflix bio-drama written and directed by Andrew Dominik. Blonde (2022) reimagines the complicated life of icon Marilyn Monroe (Ana de Armas). Blurring the lines of fact and fiction, artfully exploring the tension between her public and private life.
Our Favorite Quotes:'In you, the world is born anew, as two. Before you, there was but one.' - Norma Jeane (Blonde) Click To Tweet
Gladys: [to young Norma Jean] Look. Your father. His name is a beautiful name. And an important name. But it’s a name I can’t utter.
Deputy Will Bonnie: Ma’am, go home. Put your little girl to bed, okay? It’s late.
Gladys: Actually, officer, I’d like to see hell close-up. A preview.
Norma Jeane: Because she loved the child, and wished to spare her grief. Because the child was her own secret self, exposed. Because the very father of the child had wished it not to be born. Because he had given her money, scattering bills across the bed. Because he told her he had never loved her. She had misunderstood. Because before the pregnancy, he had loved her. And after, he had not. Because he would have married her. She was certain. Because no one could love a child so accursed.
Gladys: [to young Norma Jean] It’s because of you! You’re the reason he went away! He didn’t want you!
'Where does dreaming end and madness begin?' - Norma Jeane (Blonde) Click To Tweet
Miss Flynn: [dropping Norma Jean off at the orphanage] Your mother is sick. The doctors say that she is very sick. She tried to hurt you. She can’t be a mother to you just now. I can’t be a mother to you just now.
Young Norma Jeane: But I’m not an orphan. I have a mother, and I have a father. I’m not an orphan.
I.E. Shinn: Don’t you see, Norma Jeane? The future is in the palm of your hand.
Norma Jeane: [reading from the script] Imagine, to know every night that differing hundreds of people love you. They want you. You belong. Just that alone is worth anything. You carry it with you wherever you go. The circle of light is yours.
Norma Jeane: I read the script, the whole script. It’s such a strange, disturbing story. This mentally unbalanced woman almost killing a little girl. Like a novel by Dostoyevsky, where you feel sympathy for the criminal and don’t wish to see her punished.
The Director: Oh, you’ve read Dostoyevsky, have you, honey?
'People like that, you can see why they're drawn to acting. Because the actor in her role always knows who she is.' - The Writer (Blonde) Click To Tweet
Norma Jeane: [after her audition] I know I could be Nell. I think I am Nell. She’s a sleepwalker. She doesn’t see him. She sees her dead fiancé. She’s trapped in delusion. But where does dreaming end and madness begin? Anyway, isn’t all love based on delusion?
Assistant to Director: [referring to Marilyn’s audition] That was pretty bad, wasn’t it? Like watching a mental patient maybe. Not acting. No technique.
The Writer: People like that, you can see why they’re drawn to acting. Because the actor in her role always knows who she is.
Norma Jeane: [to Gladys] It’s been so exciting this past year. So wonderful. Like a fairy tale. Sometimes, I can’t believe it. I’m under contract at the studio. Where you used to work. I can make a living just being photographed. I guess there isn’t any Norma Jeane, is there?
Gladys: [to Marilyn] Where’s my daughter? They said my daughter was coming. I don’t know you. Who are you?
'An actress wants to be seen. An actress wants to be loved by a multitude of people.' - Cass Chaplin (Blonde) Click To Tweet
Norma Jeane: [over phone] Mr. Shinn, at the premiere, I shut my eyes a lot. I couldn’t believe that girl was me. But everyone in the audience would think it was me, Nell. And later at the party, Marilyn.
Eddy Robinson Jr.: [referring to Marilyn] She’s a prude. Miss Golden Dreams of all people.
Cass Chaplin: The human body is meant to be seen. Admired and desired. Not hidden away like some ugly festering wound.
Eddy Robinson Jr.: There’s plenty of bodies that should be hidden away. But not yours, Cassie. And not mine. And for sure not our girl Norma’s.
Cass Chaplin: In our household, my father, Chaplin, was all the magic. He drew all the light into himself until there was nothing left inside me but numbness. Like sleep. Only in the mirror could I see myself. Anything I did in the mirror, I could hear waves and waves of applause.
Norma Jeane: She is pretty, I guess. But it isn’t me, is it? How about when people find out?
Eddy Robinson Jr.: Hell, baby, we found out, and we still love you.
Norma Jeane: I just, I wish I could just hide in your arms. Forever and ever in your arms.
Cass Chaplin: But you don’t mean that, Norma. An actress wants to be seen. An actress wants to be loved by a multitude of people.
Norma Jeane: No. What I really want is you.
'Mostly, I want to settle down. Like any girl. And have a family.' - Norma Jeane (Blonde) Click To Tweet
I.E. Shinn: I’m just thinking of your career and your well-being.
Norma Jeane: You’re thinking of Marilyn.
I.E. Shinn: Yes.
Norma Jeane: Her career.
I.E. Shinn: Yes. And her well-being.
Norma Jeane: She doesn’t have any well-being. She’s only a career.
Norma Jeane: [referring to Cass and Eddy] They know I’m Norma. Not Marilyn. They understand me.
I.E. Shinn: I understand you. I invented you.
Cass Chaplin: People think it’s a blessing being Charlie Chaplin’s son. Like it’s a fairy tale, and I’m the king’s son. But we’re cursed, Eddy and me.
Eddy Robinson Jr.: We’re juniors of men who never wanted us.
Norma Jeane: But at least you two have fathers. At least you know who you are.
Cass Chaplin: Oh, we knew who we were before we were born.
Cass Chaplin: You never knew your father. So you’re free. You can invent yourself. I love your name. Marilyn Monroe. It’s so totally phony. I love it. Like you gave birth to yourself.
'It's so scary how a scene with actual people just goes on and on. Like on a bus. What's to stop it? Or how to figure out what people mean when probably they don't mean anything. Not like a script. There's no point.' - Norma Jeane Click To Tweet
Eddy Robinson Jr.: Let’s vow, okay? The three of us. To always love each other like right now. And to die for each other, if needed.
Cass Chaplin: We’re a triangle. A triangle can’t be divided in two, like two can be.
Eddy Robinson Jr.: We’re the Gemini, the three of us. Like twins. But there’s three.
Norma Jeane: [over phone] I’ll get about five thousand dollars, and Jane Russell gets a hundred thousand? And I’m playing the blonde in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? That’s an insult. I’m going to hang up now. Goodbye.
I.E. Shinn: Marilyn, wait.
Norma Jeane: F*** Marilyn. She’s not here.
Norma Jeane: When you had me, Mother, you weren’t married, I guess. You didn’t have a man supporting you. And you had a baby. That was so brave. Another girl would’ve, well, you know, gotten rid of it. Of me. And I wouldn’t be here at all. There wouldn’t be any Marilyn. And she’s getting so famous now. Fan letters, telegrams. Flowers from strangers. But you were brave. You did the right thing. You had your baby. You had me.
Norma Jeane: [referring to having an abortion] Please, I want to go back. Hey, I’ve changed my mind. My mind’s my own to change.
Norma Jeane: [to DiMaggio] It must be awfully strange to be, well, a hero.
'The circle of light is yours. You enclose yourself in the circle. You carry it with you wherever you go.' - Norma Jeane (Blonde) Click To Tweet
Norma Jeane: Oh, they’re awful. The things they make up. I know you’re supposed to get used to it. But I just can’t. It really hurts.
Ex-Athlete: How did you get your start?
Norma Jeane: What start?
Ex-Athlete: In movies. In acting.
Norma Jeane: I don’t know. I guess I was discovered.
Ex-Athlete: I know what it’s like to be lonely. To want a better life. A good, simple life. A decent life.
Norma Jeane: I just want to begin again from zero. I want to live in another world. Away from Hollywood.
'Time is like a fast river running through us.' - Norma Jeane's Father (Blonde) Click To Tweet
Norma Jeane: I want to move to New York. And study acting. Serious acting. In the movies, they chop you all to bits. Cut, cut, cut. It’s a jigsaw puzzle. But you’re not the one to put the pieces together. Oh, but to live in a part. To just be in it till the closing curtain every night.
Norma Jeane: But mostly, I want to settle down. Like any girl. And have a family. Oh, I love children so. I’m crazy about babies.
Norma Jeane: I’m a slave to this Marilyn Monroe. I signed up for a luxury cruise, but like Lorelei Lee, I’m in f***ing steerage, paddling.
Norma Jeane: [referring to her fans] Like movie critics. Some of them love Marilyn. Some of them hate Marilyn. What’s that got to do with me?
Norma Jeane: Is he here? My father? It’s like a happy ending of a long, confused movie.
Norma Jeane: Oh, Daddy. That thing up on the screen, it isn’t me.
Ex-Athlete: [as he’s proposing] I just want you to be happy.
Norma Jeane: I am happy. I’ve been happy all my life.
Norma Jeane: [reading her poem] In you, the world is born anew, as two. Before you, there was but one.
Ex-Athlete’s Niece: So, Marilyn, what’s it like being a movie star?
Norma Jeane: I’m not a star. I’m just some blonde.
Ex-Athlete’s Niece: So the hair’s real?
Norma Jeane: No. No.
Norma Jeane: [to DiMaggio] Daddy, it’s so scary how a scene with actual people just goes on and on. Like on a bus. What’s to stop it? Or how to figure out what people mean when probably they don’t mean anything. Not like a script. There’s no point. It just happens. Like the weather.
Ex-Athlete: [to Marilyn] You know, honey, in boxing, they say, “That got his attention.” When a guy gets hit hard. Well, it’s about attention, honey. It’s about concentration. And if you don’t have that…
Norma Jeane: Daddy, I have to work. It’s my life.
Ex-Athlete: You tell them you want better roles. More serious roles. You tell them you’re quitting. You tell them your husband says you’re quitting.
Ex-Athlete: Don’t you see how much I love you? Don’t you understand?
Norma Jeane: I know.
Ex-Athlete: I can’t bear to see you cheapen yourself like that.
Norma Jeane’s Father: I was disappointed that your marriage to such a stellar athlete ended in divorce and such ugly publicity. At least there are no children to reap the shame.
The Playwright: I suppose I should call you Marilyn, shouldn’t I? Or is that just a stage name?
Norma Jeane: You could call me Norma. That’s my true name.
The Playwright: I could call you Norma, if you prefer. Or I could call you my Magda.
Norma Jeane: I’d like that.
The Playwright: My secret Magda.
Norma Jeane: Daddy, you won’t ever write about me, will you?
The Playwright: Darling, of course not. Why would I do such a thing?
Norma Jeane: It’s what people do. Sometimes. Writers.
The Playwright: I’m not other people. You and I are not other people.
The Playwright: Darling, where do you go when you disappear?
Norma Jeane: Daddy, don’t make me go back. I never want to be her again.
The Playwright: It wouldn’t occur to Norma to be cruel. If I have one regret, it’s that time passes so quickly.
Unborn Baby: You won’t hurt me this time, will you? Not do what you did the last time?
Norma Jeane: I didn’t. I didn’t mean to.
Unborn Baby: Yes, you meant to. It was your decision.
Norma Jeane: You’re not the same baby. You’re this baby.
Unborn Baby: That was me. It’s always me.
Norma Jeane: [to her unborn baby, referring to Miller] He loves us. He would die for us. He said so.
Norma Jeane: [after losing her baby, on the set of Some Like It Hot] You think I’m too dumb to comprehend the joke’s on me?
Billy Wilder: What joke?
Norma Jeane: Jell-O on springs!
Whitey: [referring to Marilyn] Billy, she’s not a well girl. If she could be well, she would be.
The Playwright: I feel like we’re getting more and more distant. I’m so worried about you, darling. Your health. And these drugs. Are you trying to destroy yourself, Norma? I mean, what are you doing to your life?
Norma Jeane: What business of yours is my life?
Norma Jeane: [over phone] No. Marilyn Monroe will not be coming in today to impersonate and demean herself. And you will have to shoot around her.
Whitey: I’m going to conjure Marilyn within the hour, I promise.
Norma Jeane: Baby’s gone. Baby’s gone, Whitey.
Whitey: I know. It’ll be okay. Oh, Miss Monroe.
Whitey: [trying to do Marilyn’s makeup] Here.
Norma Jeane: [crying] Please come. Don’t abandon me. Please.
Whitey: She’s coming. She’s coming. She’s almost here.
Norma Jeane: Please come.
[Marilyn looks at herself in the mirror, then does her iconic laugh]
Norma Jeane’s Father: I see your beautiful face often. And I wonder how you look so untouched. But the soul does not always show in the face, I suppose.
Norma Jeane: It isn’t sexual between the president and me. It has very little to do with sex. It’s a meeting of our souls. Oh. Did I say that out loud?
Norma Jeane: [to Kennedy’s men] Am I meat to be delivered? Is that what this is? Room service?
Norma Jeane: Who brought me here to this place? Was it Marilyn? But why does Marilyn do these things? What does Marilyn want? Or is it a movie scene? I’m playing the part of a famous blonde actress meeting the boyishly handsome leader of the free world, the President of the United States, for a romantic rendezvous. The girl upstairs in harmless soft p**n film. Just once. Why not? Any scene can be played. Whether well or badly, it can be played. And it won’t last more than a few minutes.
Norma Jeane: [to Kennedy] Gosh, I know you’re a man of the world. I’m not a child. You don’t have to worry about me.
Norma Jeane: [as she’s being dragged away by Kennedy’s men] I love the president.
Whitey: Miss Monroe! What’s wrong? What’s wrong?
Norma Jeane: Oh, gosh. Whitey. I thought I was dead.
Whitey: You just dozed off. Just for a second.
Norma Jeane: The circle of light is yours. You enclose yourself in the circle. You carry it with you wherever you go.
Norma Jeane’s Father: But you are in my thoughts often. I have known you only at a distance. Years passed, and that distance seemed too great to surmount. Time is like a fast river running through us. Already it isn’t.
[after which she then finds out the letters from her father were from Cass]