6.1/10
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41 user 3 critic

Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996)

This film follows Norma Jean from her simple, ambitious youth to her superstar pinnacle and back down. She moves from lover to lover in order to further her career. She finds fame but never happiness, only knowing seduction but not love.

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(book),
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Norma Jean Dougherty
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Eddie Jordan
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Arthur Miller
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Joe DiMaggio
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Fred Karger
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Darryl Zanuck
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Billy Wilder
Dana Goldstone ...
Lee Strasberg
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Mozelle Hyde
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Natasha Lytess
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Milton Krasner
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Commissary Photographer
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Preacher
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Storyline

In this film, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino portray two sides of the woman America loved, but who struggled to love herself: Marilyn Monroe. To the world, Marilyn was a vivacious superstar, the epitome of sexuality, sensuality and frolicsome amusement. Every man wanted her - every woman wanted to be her. But behind the enticing smile, beneath the tight-fitting dresses, there was a dark secret - one Marilyn could not bury in the past... the child inside named Norma Jean. Everything Norma Jean dreams of, Marilyn achieves. Every man she struggles to resist, Marilyn succumbs to. And while Marilyn climbs the ladder to success, Norma Jean was beneath it, almost willing her to fall. Written by HBO Home Video

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Marilyn Monroe was our fantasy. Norma Jean was her reality.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and nudity, some substance abuse and strong language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

18 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Norma Jean and Marilyn  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The film has almost too many factual errors to be mentioned and shouldn't be considered a "true" portrait of Monroe's life. See more »

Quotes

Marilyn Monroe: Oh, no, Johnny, you need your rest.
Johnny Hyde: I'll get my rest when I'm dead, which is going to be sooner rather than later. You know that, Marilyn.
See more »

Connections

References Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend
Written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin
Performed by Mira Sorvino
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Misjudged and Misunderstood TV movie...
24 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

For years, the 1996 HBO movie NORMA JEAN AND MARILYN has been maligned and skewered by critics and viewers alike because it was not an accurate biography of Marilyn Monroe. Frankly, if you're looking for an accurate film biography of Marilyn Monroe, there is no such animal (though the ABC-TV movie with Catherine Hicks is pretty close). NORMA JEAN AND MARILYN is not supposed to be a biography of Marilyn. So much has been written about Marilyn over the past 50 years, how can there be anything that people don't know at this point? That's why this movie took a different tack and presented a probing psychological drama that speculates about the inner demons that tormented Marilyn from her childhood as Norma Jean throughout her adult life as Marilyn. Ashley Judd lights up the screen as a young Norma Jean, the young woman determined to forget a loveless marriage to Jim Dougherty and carve out a career for herself as a movie star, even if she has to sleep her way to the top to do it. Norma Jean makes no bones about what she wants, even if it means using and abusing good friend Eddie Jordan (Josh Charles)to get to his famous uncle as an "in" to the Hollywood crowd. The screenplay splices together fantasies and inner dialogues with some actual events in Norma Jean's life in order to give us a look into Marilyn's psyche. Once Norma Jean gets signed to Fox and she changes her name to Marilyn Monroe, Mira Sorvino takes over the role in an uncanny reincarnation of the screen's greatest sex symbol. Sorvino is warm and heartbreaking as Marilyn, recreating some of Marilyn's greatest on screen moments with frightening accuracy while at the same time beautifully conveying the decay of Marilyn's mind, thanks to booze, pills, men, and the treatment she received from studio heads, acting coaches, and others who tried to help her. What makes this film unique and indicates that it is not just a typical biopic is that after Sorvino takes over the role, Ashley Judd still appears as the inner Norma Jean, coaching and encouraging Marilyn to do the right thing and ridiculing her when she does the wrong thing. This movie is an examination of the inner Marilyn who lived in constant mental anguish and was never satisfied with anything she ever did or any relationship she had. The movie is well-written with flashbacks and flash forwards that require close attention in order to stay with the story but it is well worth it. Sorvino and Judd receive solid support from David Dukes as Arthur Miller, Peter Dobsono as Joe DiMaggio, Ron Rifkin as Johnny Hyde, and Lindsay Crouse as Natasha, Marilyn's acting coach who, according to this film,was in love with her. This is a haunting and disturbing film that will not answer all your questions about her, but might help you to understand what a tormented soul she was. If you're looking for a biography of Marilyn, go to a library and check out a book on Marilyn. If you're looking for a unique film experience about a side of Marilyn we rarely saw, then give NORMA JEAN AND MARILYN a look.


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