ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movie review: My Week with Marilyn

Updated on November 23, 2011

Next year will see the fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death. In that time many an actors' star power would have faded away, and yet Monroe's iconic status is as strong as ever.

Her longevity in the public domain is hardly surprising. Not only did she simply sizzle on screen, her often tragic personal life meant that the media spotlight was constantly trained on her.

Throughout her terribly short career, she rarely shot her films outside of the USA. The opportunity to work with Laurence Olivier however, was simply an offer she couldn't refuse.

In the summer of 1956, the biggest film star in the world Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) arrived in England for the very first time, to shoot the film The Prince and the Showgirl.

Helping out on the production side of things was fresh-faced Oxford graduate Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne). As he was obsessed with the silver screen, he had a dream of working in cinema. For most people the dream would stay just that, but coming from a well-to-do family who knew Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and his wife Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormand) personally, it didn't take that much to make his dream a reality. So Colin soon found himself the 3rd Assistant Director.

Monroe had already gained a reputation for being difficult to work with on set, which she fully lived up to even in the presence of Larry and co. Although Laurence was aware of this, he wasn't quite prepared for the force of nature that was Marilyn.

Despite his lowly role, Colin soon found that Laurence was making him in charge of both looking after and keeping an eye on the biggest star on the planet. Little did he realise the impact of their working relationship would have on both their lives.

The film is based on events that actually did happen to Colin Clark; he retold the scenario in his 1995 book The Prince, The Showgirl and Me, but didn't reveal the full extent of his relationship with Marilyn until 2000 with his book My Week with Marilyn. He died two years later. Considering the length of time between the event itself and writing about it, that's one hell of a story to keep to yourself.

Director Simon Curtis (Cranford) has recreated this glorious tale with great elegance and humour. During the fifties, the UK actually had a healthy film industry that it could be proud of, and his film captures this era with a splendid dose of nostalgia. In places it actually feels more like a homage to a golden era of British cinema, rather than that of the relationship between a young man and screen icon.

At first Williams' performance as Monroe appears to get lost in the background somewhat; with larger than life characters to compete with, her presence is a little washed out. But then slowly but surely, she manages to allow the fragility of her character and her beguiling nature come to the fore in a mesmerising glow. So much so that you can't imagine any other actress on the planet doing a better job. By the end of the film she most definitely steals the show, which is no mean feat considering the impressive cast.

Redmayne has been making steady progress with his career, without really exploding on anyone's radar. He most definitely makes an impression as the love-struck Clark; although it's not difficult to imagine it's that hard for anyone to fall in love with Monroe, Redmayne manages to convey a belief that this isn't simply a case of being star-struck, but the real thing.

And then there's Branagh. Out of all the characters he's played over the years, it's difficult to imagine him having as much fun playing one as he does playing Olivier. It has far more depth than just a mere impression, as you can almost see Sir Larry inhabiting his fellow luvvy on screen.

There are a number of other familiar faces from our TV screens that also make help it a joy to watch, but none more so than Dame Judi Dench; her role as Dame Sybil Thorndike may not be that substantial, but by God she makes an impact.

Not only is this a fascinating account of an extraordinary relationship, it's told in such way that just like those who met Marilyn, it's far too easy to fall in love with.

4 booms

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Nice review. This movie does sound like it's worth seeing. I've been considering making the trip to see it, even though its not playing anywhere near where I live. I think I will. Thanks for helping me make up my mind.

      Rob

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)