Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh
Emma Watson, Julia Ormond, Dame Judi Dench

It is 1956 and Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is determined to be part of the movie industry. Due to his determination (not to mention his parents were friends of the Oliviers), he manages to get an internship at the film production company of Sir Laurence Olivier. He starts off a gofer until Olivier is impressed with his enterprising ability so he is hired as third assistant director on a film. A movie that Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) will direct and star in along with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) as his leading lady.

The film is adapted from a book by Colin Clark who wrote a diary about the making of "The Prince and the Showgirl". He narrates the story through a voice over. We bear witness to the insurmountable problems that Olivier faced during the production of the film. Such as the constant delays due to the tantrums thrown by the American vixen. She is portrayed as an insecure star who needed to be reassured by her acting coach to boost her confidence. She is also mostly heavily drugged to function normally. Yet despite her antics, the entire cast is mesmerized by her beauty and her charms.

The cast is peppered with good British actors who gave depth and dimension to the real life characters they portrayed. Notably, Kenneth Branagh captured the mannerisms of Sir Laurence Olivier, brilliantly. Although I do get the impression from the films I've seen that the real Olivier was much taller. The same goes for Michelle Williams who facially did resemble the American icon but she somehow lacked the oozing sexuality that Marilyn Monroe was famous for. Yet I still admire Williams ability to capture the various insecurities that seem to haunt the starlet.

The story leads us to believe that Marilyn grew quite fond of Colin Clark. He was the one she would seek out on the set to calm her nerves. Now this is certainly hard to believe. How can a glamorous star like Monroe prefer to spend her time with a production crew? But since this film is based on Clark's semi-autobiography, the whole premise is taken from his perspective. Although his narration about the problems behind the set has been verified as authentic, it is the 'week with Marilyn' that remains doubtful.

Despite the talents of the excellent ensemble cast, the plausibility or impossibility factor reigns in. This doesn't make it a 'bad' movie. It was interesting in an intriguing manner so that should count for something.

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