In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark worked as a lowly assistant on the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl", the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe, who, whilst shooting, was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller. Nearly 40 years on, his diary account was...more
In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark worked as a lowly assistant on the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl", the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe, who, whilst shooting, was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller. Nearly 40 years on, his diary account was published, save one week. This is the story of that week: an idyll in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood and the pressures of working. When Arthur Miller makes a brief trip to Paris, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce her to some of the pleasures of British life. Slowly Marilyn begins to shake off the dark fog of insecurity and fear always hovering around her. As she relaxes she offers Colin fleeting insights into her own background - one of family madness, single-minded ambition and uninhibited sexuality. less
“Commendable performances, brilliant screenplay and all technical elements in place; My Week with Marilyn is an exemplary tribute to the screen goddess Marilyn Monroe. Go for it!”
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The current crop of films' Hollywood is churning out indicates an unusual yet deeply satisfying trend. From Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris which has an unfulfilled Hollywood screenwriter going back to the era of Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, to Scorsese's Hugo celebrating the invention of cinema, to War Horse going for the traditional, John Ford school of filmmaking, to the unanimous acceptance of the impeccable French classic The Artist, movie-makers are starving of inspiration and the current culture isnt helping with inspiration. Latest to join the bandwagon patronising the nostalgia shop is Simon Curtis My Week with Marilyn which is more a homage to the most known actress of any time Marilyn Monroe, than a mere docu-drama sourced from a novella.
She was a screen goddess and her exquisite charm was contagious, affecting not only those around her but also the spectators who frequented her films. The end of a flowing wet dream, the epitome of a true starlet, Monroe fitted the definition of larger-than-life in its closest literal understanding.
But was this woman of unmatchable grace gifted with a natural acting talent and an alluring body without her flaws? Simons film which has been sourced from two books penned by Colin Curtis on his alleged affair with the starlet, is a fascinating exploration which goes delightfully beyond touching the surface on Monroes life, adding to our so far limited knowledge, intricate details of a largely enigmatic personality.
The narrative unfolds on the British sets of The Prince and the Showgirl, a film which Sir Laurence Oliver, is directing and acting in, and has signed Monroe to play the lead opposite. Over the filming stages, the actress develops an unusually intimate relationship with the films third assistant director Colin Clark, for a brief 7 days or so. It is a deliciously inviting set-up, right from the films art direction which brings to life the production of a faded era, to the mannerisms of the people then. Just these mere props are so thoughtfully arranged that the film breaks beyond any other period film for the simple reason being that it is telling the tale of an iconic starlet in the making of a film she is unable to devote herself completely to.
Beyond the faultless beauty and exquisite charm Marilyn effortlessly exuded, we learn about the shocking insecurities of the unsure woman hidden behind the pancake. This biopic explores the psyche of the actress in much detail, and tries to understand her vulnerabilities and from where did they grow. Not only did Monroe is shown having deeply troubled relationships with her producers and directors but she was flawed in handling even her intimate liaisons. Michelle Williams enacts the role of the legendary actress and more than impersonating her by picking the gait, traits and the tap-dance, Williams makes the character so much her own, one is left visually awe-struck by the level of honesty. We havent known Monroe but Williams makes us believe that she wouldve been exactly like her. It is a well-deserved Oscar nomination.
The remaining of the cast is again, astonishingly brilliant. Kenneth Branaghs Oliver Laurence makes you curious of the great, great director-actor whereas Dougray Scott is a near-perfect impersonation of the marvellous Arthur Miller.
Out of many genres this film is classified in, from bio-pic to drama, I would want to call it fantasy. Because it is a fantasy transformed in reality for a man out-of-nowhere to become the subject of reasonable attention of Marilyn Monroe. From walking her in idealistic parks to the royal library to flaunting her just like that, it would be corrupt to call it just as a fling, heart-shattering to ponder it over just too much, because it really is too good to have been true. An Affair to Remember, an encounter unforgettable. You could die without regrets just when it was all over and done.
Just because it happened, and happened to you.
For the performance and for the time-period it so remarkably documents, the film is recommended because it boldly conveys that even a screen goddess as legendary as Monroe, needed a constant companion to reassure her of her beauty and talents.