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Norma Jean and Marilyn (1996).

May 22, 2007

The Scoop:
A great script anchors this HBO original movie about the life and death of Marilyn Monroe. The gimmick that works unusually well is having two leads play the same character — Ashley Judd as Norma Jean Baker, the ambitious, sexually abused orphan, who transforms herself into Mira Sorvino as Marilyn Monroe, the troubled sex symbol who can’t escape Norma Jean’s inner voice.

The film does a good job chronicling her drug use and the way she exploited men and sexual politics to rise to the top, but ignores many of the rumors and speculation that surround her death. Both actresses give strong performances, but Judd’s is especially captivating. I absolutely fell in love with her in this movie — and not just because she spends a great deal of time nude. This is one of my favorite Hollywood biopics — right up there with “The Man of a Thousand Faces” (1956), “Chaplin” (1992) and “Ed Wood” (1996).

Best Line:
“I’m going to be in the movies, even if I have to fuck Bela Lugosi to do it!”

Side Note:
Judd and Sorvino both shared Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for lead acting.

Companion Viewing:
“Gia” (1998).


Take a Look:
For reasons only know to the creator, someone made a short montage of some of Ashley Judd’s cigarette smoking scenes from the film:

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