It’s hard not to go one day without seeing Marilyn Monroe’s image plastered on something. Teenage girls carry around handbags with Monroe pouting seductively on cheap leather, and I wonder whether they have any idea about the actress? Teenagers probably think she’s just “some cool blonde chick”. That is understandable, considering the youth of today we’re probably just cells dividing in the developing testicles of their grandfather or great grandfather at the height of Monroe’s fame. Her life was full of drama and her status is legendary, albeit that her lasting memory seems to live on through handbags. ‘My Week with Marilyn’ is a charming look at a small sequence of Monroe’s life and the subtle impact she had on those around her.
Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is a young man keen to work in the film industry. He gets his opportunity when Sir Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) offers him a job on his latest film ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. The film is a big deal because it stars is Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Colin develops a bond with the delicate actress.
It’s easy to fall in love with Williams as Monroe. Her beauty and fragility is on display in the performance and despite the fact that the character can be a tad frustrating, Williams is deserving of the awards praise she is getting. Redmayne is perfect as a naive twenty-something ready to overdose of life and love, while there are pleasant appearances from Dame Judi Dench, Julia Ormond, Emma Watson, Toby Jones, Dougray Scott and Dominic Cooper. Branagh is fantastic and comes close to stealing the film from Williams, but the cast works so well together with everyone in top form no matter how big or small the role.
Director Simon Curtis does a great job of keeping the story focused on the tender relationship between Clark and Monroe. It’s a tale of great first love compounded by the fact that Clark fell in love with the most famous woman on the planet at the time. Curtis also manages to show the impact that the making of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ had on everyone involved. It was a complicated shoot plagued by Monroe’s strange behaviour and the influence of the people in her inner circle who all had questionable intentions. It’s good to note what happened to the career of Monroe and Olivier after the shoot wrapped and the lessons they learnt from each other.
The historical accuracy of the story can be queried but it’s based on two books written by the real Colin Clark – ‘The Prince, the Showgirl and Me’ and ‘My Week with Marilyn’ – that are taken from diaries he wrote at the time. Scriptwriter Adrien Hodges finds the story amongst the memories but there is a warm feeling of nostalgia that is sown throughout the film and a sense of wonder at Clark’s experience -it isn’t a biopic but rather a walk down memory lane.
The costuming, locations and recreation of Pinewood Studios in the 1950s is beautiful to behold and it’s a real treat for old school film lovers with ‘My Week with Marilyn’ joining the classic cinema group hug with ‘The Artist’ and ‘Hugo’.
‘My Week with Marilyn’ is a wonderful film that goes beyond the story you already know about Monroe.
‘My Week with Marilyn’ is now showing.
The Popcorn Junkie