Blonde: release date, cast, plot, rating, and everything we know

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde
Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. (Image credit: Netflix)

Marilyn Monroe is a Hollywood legend, just as famous for her work on screen as she was for being a fashion icon and the subject of celebrity gossip off of it. Marilyn is back with the 2022 movie Blonde, featuring Ana de Armas as Monroe.

This is far from the first time that Monroe has been the subject of a movie. There have been multiple documentaries about the actress, including a 2022 addition from NetflixThe Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes. There have also been two previous fiction movies about Monroe, 1991's Marilyn and Me with Susan Griffins as Monroe and 2011's My Week with Marilyn, where Michelle Williams took on the role and received an Oscar nomination.

Let’s dig into all of that right here as we review everything you need to know about Blonde, which has been causing plenty of debate.

Blonde release date

Blonde is out now on Netflix. 

It's also had a limited exclusive run in movie theaters in the US and UK. To see if Blonde is playing anywhere near you, check your local movie theater websites or a resource like Fandango.

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

Ana de Armas in Blonde (Image credit: Netflix)

It’s certainly no easy job stepping into the shoes of a legend, but Ana de Armas is taking it on as she stars as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde.

Ana de Armas has quickly become an A-list actress. Her first major Hollywood roles came in 2016 when she starred in Hands of Stone and War Dogs, then she was part of two blockbuster movies in Blade Runner 2049 and Knives Out, which helped make her a household name. More recently she starred in Daniel Craig’s final James Bond movie, No Time to Die and then earlier in 2022 had Deep Water alongside Ben Affleck.

It’s a busy 2022 for de Armas. In addition to Deep Water and now Blonde in the fall, she also stars in Netflix’s The Gray Man with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.

Speaking on Blonde to Queue, de Armas was drawn to the role because of writer/director Andrew Dominik’s vision for depicting Marilyn Monroe:

"Andrew’s ambitions were very clear from the start — to present a version of Marilyn Monroe’s life through her lens," de Armas said. "He wanted the world to experience what it actually felt like to not only be Marilyn, but also Norma Jeane. I found that to be the most daring, unapologetic, and feminist take on her story that I had ever seen."

Our Blonde review

Our Blonde review concluded: "Blonde is a big swing and a brute to watch, though it’s arguably worth it for Ana de Armas’ performance.

Is there a Blonde trailer?

The official trailer for Blonde is below. The film looks gorgeous with its mix of black-and-white and color photography and period clothing, while also highlighting clips of the struggles of Marilyn Monroe, including a bit of dialogue from de Armas saying that Monroe doesn't exist and that she instead is just Norma Jean playing a part. Watch the full trailer directly below:

Netflix also previously released a teaser trailer that showed the two sides to Norma Jean/Marilyn. Give that a look right here.

Who is in the Blonde cast?

Ana de Armas isn’t the only big name in the Blonde cast. Joining her Marilyn Monroe are Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Garret Dillahunt (Ambulance), Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown), Sara Paxton (Good Girls) and Scoot McNairy (Godless), Xavier Samuel (Elvis) and Evan Williams (Westworld), among others.

Brody plays a character called "The Playwright" and Bobby Cannavale plays "The Ex-Athlete." Though they are not named directly, for those who are aware of Marilyn Monroe’s marital history can likely guess that these characters are based on Arthur Miller (The Playwright) and Joe DiMaggio (The Ex-Athlete).

Vanity Fair did a piece on the movie that includes some exclusive images of de Armas, Brody and Cannavale in character.

Blonde photos

Here are a slate of photos from Blonde, including movie stills and behind-the-scene photos like Ana de Armas practicing Monroe's iconic number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

What is the plot of Blonde?

Blonde is a fictionalized account of Marilyn Monroe’s life, based on the book of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates. The movie looks at the vulnerable woman, Norma Jeane, behind the Hollywood icon of Marilyn Monroe, including detailing the traumatic childhood and "the conflict that results as an adult between her very public and private selves." Check out our Is Blonde based on a true story? guide to see how the movie compares to the star's actual life.

What is Blonde rated?

One of the biggest headlines of Blonde ahead of its release was the rating that itreceived. Blonde has officially been rated NC-17 in the US, as confirmed in the teaser trailer (it's an 18 certificate in the UK).

Director Andrew Dominik told Vulture that he was surprised that Blonde received an NC-17 rating, but he believes that is the more interesting story to be told.

"I think if I’m given the choice, I’d rather go and see the NC-17 version of the Marilyn Monroe story. Because we know that her life was on the edge, clearly, from the way it ended. Do you want to see the warts-and-all version or do you want to see that sanitized version?"

How long is Blonde?

Blonde has a run time of two hours and 46 minutes.

Who is director Andrew Dominik?

Andrew Dominik the writer and director of Blonde. His first feature movie was Chopper in 2000, but his most recognized movie is 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford that starred Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. He would go on to direct Pitt again in the dark satire Killing Them Softly.

Since 2012, Dominik has directed a pair of documentaires — One More Time With Feeling and This Much I Know to Be True — as well as two episodes of the Netflix series Mindhunter. Blonde is his first narrative movie since Killing Them Softly.

Blonde poster

(Image credit: Netflix)
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.