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Netflix’s Blonde Teaser Trailer Breakdown: Separating Norma Jeane From Marilyn



Ana de Armas in Blonde

Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, somehow continues to live the most widely speculated life and embodies the most infamous, illustrious, and mysterious public persona invented in the modern era. In anticipation of Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, with the titular character portrayed by the magnificent Ana de Armas, it is imperative to understand that Marilyn Monroe was, after all, invented. She was the creation of Mortenson, and she was the larger-than-life goddess of a woman built to withstand all the glory, scrutiny, and pain of a life designed to live recklessly, selflessly, boundlessly in the glamorous, endless public.

Historians of Marilyn Monroe and her most ardent enthusiasts will quickly recognize, even from Netflix’s brief first look at the film, what direction it is seemingly going. In the inspiration for the film — Joyce Carol Oates’ speculative novel Blonde —

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Norma Jeane Mortenson is depicted as a woman whose innocence, identity, and talent were exploited by greedy, cruel men. It expands on the interpretation that her downfall and death were caused by the betrayal of those sharks and vultures around her. It’s clear from the brief trailer that this is the narrative the movie is sticking with.

From the only interaction the teaser shows us, we see that all her handlers care about is Marilyn and not so much Norma Jeane. The film’s director has made no bones about the fact that the movie has something in it to offend everyone. All we need to see of this movie is one, highly stylized minute to realize that it will be a visceral, devastating journey down Joyce Carol Oates’ rabbit hole and that it will indeed enlarge to unknown proportions commonplace facts, incidents, and truths about Mortenson’s real life.

Related: Blonde Star Ana de Armas Says Marilyn Monroe Biopic is “Most Intense” Work She Has Ever Done

Below are the teaser trailer’s telling tidbits.

Throughout the teaser, Norma Jeane Mortenson is seen sitting in front of her trifold mirror, getting her hair and makeup done for an upcoming show. She weeps desperately, praying, “Please come, do not abandon me.” Her makeup assistant assures her, “She’s coming. She’s almost here.” It’s unclear at the start of the trailer who she is praying to or what for, but it’s certainly not God. Her entreaties continue throughout the quick looks at the footage that the teaser allows us, until Marilyn finally shows up.

A desperate and terrified Mortenson transforms into Marilyn, who looks slyly at her reflection and slowly melts into a wide, devilish grin and laughs. In the teaser and in real life, Norma Jeane was not Marilyn, and Marilyn was not Norma Jeane. Marilyn was a persona, a concept, that Mortenson relied on like a crutch to go out there and do the work that was being asked of her. Mortenson herself couldn’t face that stage, those lights, those crowds. It had to be Marilyn.