How to watch Blonde - plus cast and plot of Marilyn Monroe inspired film

Do blondes really have more fun?

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

Ana de Armas brings Marilyn to life as you’ve never seen her before.

The Ana de Armas headed Blonde film, has been a long time coming. The biographical psychological drama film about Marilyn Monroe began initial development in 2010. Based on the 2000 biographical fiction novel of the same - written by Joyce Carol Oates - production didn’t actually begin until August 2019. The highly anticipated film enjoyed its world premiere at the 79th Venice Film Festival, on September 8 and has since arrived on a popular streaming service - to questions around how true the movie Blonde actually is. We share how to watch Blonde, alongside details of the exciting cast, and the intriguing plot of the film.

Not the only exciting film to premiere at the Venice International film festival, the Olivia Wilde directed Don’t Worry Darling has got everyone talking - and Harry Styles fans going wild. With the film that opened the festival receiving rave reviews, everyone wants to know the official White Noise release date - Adam Driver leads an all star cast in the latest black comedy from Noah Baumbach. In the second of a trio of Florian Zeller plays to be adapted for the screen, Hugh Jackman heads up The Son, focusing on teenage mental health and the father struggling to manage it. 

How to watch Blonde in the UK:

Blonde was released on Netflix in the UK on September 28, 2022. It was initially announced by Netflix that the film would premiere on September 23. However, on July 28, they posted a tweet announcing the date had been pushed back a week.

To stream Blonde, a Netflix subscription is required. There are 3 Netflix packages available - the cheapest package costs £6.99 per month. This basic starting price includes unlimited access to the Netflix catalogue. With this, subscribers can only stream from one device at a time.

At £10.99 per month, the standard package also includes the entire Netflix catalogue. However, simultaneous streaming from 2 devices is allowed. This package also has shows in HD, and allows downloads to mobile devices. 

The final premium package costs £15.99 per month, and features bonuses including allowing streaming across 4 devices, and contains most of the catalogue in Ultra HD. 

Blonde: Cast 

  • Ana de Armas as Norma Jeane Mortenson/Marilyn Monroe
  • Adrien Brody as Arthur Miller
  • Bobby Cannavale as Joe DiMaggio
  • Lily Fisher as young Norma Jeane Mortenson
  • Xavier Samuel as Charles Chaplin Jr
  • Julianne Nicholson as Gladys Pearl Baker
  • Caspar Phillipson as John F. Kennedy
  • Toby Huss as Allan "Whitey" Snyder
  • Sara Paxton as Miss Flynn
  • David Warshofsky as Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Evan Williams as Edward G. Robinson Jr.
  • Michael Masini as Tony Curtis
  • Luke Whoriskey as James Dean
  • Spencer Garrett as President's Pimp
  • Rebecca Wisocky as Yvet
  • Ned Bellamy as Doc Fell
  • Eric Matheny as Joseph Cotten
  • Catherine Dent as Jean
  • Haley Webb as Brooke
  • Eden Riegel as Esther
  • Patrick Brennan as Joe

Speaking to Byrdie about her transformation into Marilyn Monroe, de Armas described how long she spent in the makeup department before shooting. She said "I had to go bald every day, because with the blonde wigs… [Marilyn] went through different shades of blonde from golden to really platinum, so for these wigs that are beautifully made, you can’t have anything dark underneath, so we had to make a bald cap every single day from my forehead to [around] my whole head". 

She continued "It was like, three and a half hours every day of makeup. I think I actually cried the first time I saw [the wigs] on. Probably because I was terrified. But, I’m so proud. It felt incredible, it felt… also very exhausting. It was a lot of hard work to play her in what I think was a really honest way of portraying her".


Blonde: Plot 

Blonde is based on a fictional reimagining of Marilyn Monroe’s life, written by Joyce Carol Oates. She had the idea for the book on seeing a photograph of a then 15-year-old Norma Jeane Baker, winning a beauty contest in 1941. She resonated with the innocence and hopefulness of the look on the face of the young girl, and plotted a story around it. 

According to The New Yorker, Blonde is a work of fiction and imagination, with the author rearranging and reinventing the details of Monroe’s life to form a work that’s both poetic and spiritual in its truth. 

The official synopsis reads “The film boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn 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”.

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

(Image credit: Netflix)

Is Blonde in black and white?

The majority of the film is black and white, with some scenes shot in colour. This is to push cinematic boundaries and cause deliberate discomfort to the viewer. 

In an interview with Empire, de Armas expanded on the reason for the difference in colour shot, as well as breaking other taboos. She said "This movie has had a long journey, not only before being made, but also after. The result is a film that pushes cinematic boundaries and prods at cultural taboos, alternating between black-and-white and colour, with shifting aspect ratios, body-cams, a vaginal POV shot, conversations held with a fetus, and handheld camera shots."

She added "It’s a film that is supposed to create controversy and discomfort, and it’s supposed to make you think about what happened – and what is still happening. It’s revolutionary, and I think it’s so brave".

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde

(Image credit: Netflix)

Why is the movie Blonde so controversial?

Blonde is controversial because it is the first film released on Netflix with an NC-17 rating - this means that nobody under the age of 17 can view it. The reason for the NC-17 has been cited as the film’s graphic depictions of sexual violence. 

In the reimagined version of Monroe’s life, she attends her first film audition at the age of 21. While there, she is violently raped by a studio producer known as Mr Z, and later told she won the role due to her acting skill. These graphic scenes are what have garnered the film its high and unusual rating, although there is no real evidence to suggest Monroe suffered any such experience.

Ana de Armas is said to be unhappy with the rating, with GQ reporting on the actress’ feelings. She said “I can tell you a number of shows or movies that are way more explicit with a lot more sexual content than Blonde. But to tell this story it is important to show all these moments in Marilyn’s life that made her end up the way that she did. It needed to be explained. Everyone [in the cast] knew we had to go to uncomfortable places. I wasn’t the only one”.

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Lucy Wigley
TV writer - contributing

Lucy is a multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ experience writing about entertainment, parenting and family life. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and telling you why you should watch them.