My Week with Marilyn, from Weinstein Company and BBC Films

Films about films are often dreary affairs. My Week with Marilyn avoids such dreariness due to a strong cast and because it takes a different approach from the norm.  A true story, if one is to believe Colin Clark, based on two diaries he wrote while associated with the making of the 1957 film The Prince and The Showgirl.  The film, directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier, co-starring Marilyn Monroe, was filmed very soon after her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Clark’s diaries show an insecure and unhappy Monroe, smothered by handlers and reliant on pills. After Miller leaves the country, Monroe and Clark become friends, with Clark becoming her crutch during the filming; during which time they develop, for one week, a semi-romantic relationship.

The film has garnered mostly positive reviews, most of which I agree with. The cast is nicely done, with special kudos to Michelle Williams who is marvelous as Monroe and to Judi Dench who fits perfectly the role of kindly Dame Sybil Thorndike. Newcomer Eddie Redmayne is believable as a starstruck Colin Clark. I do wish Julia Ormond, as Vivien Leigh, and Emma Watson, as Lucy, had slightly larger roles, as I enjoy watching both of them perform. I struggled a bit with Kenneth Branagh as Olivier, it just did not seem like a natural fit for him.

Simply because of the larger than life characters of Monroe and Olivier, it was entertaining watching their interactions and ego’s, both well displayed in this film. Watching the process of trying to get The Prince and The Showgirl on film is good fun, giving you a pretty good idea of how dreary this seemingly glamorous profession really is. The setting and mood of the film gives a nice picture of the era it represents, a time certainly gone by. I do feel the movie dragged on a bit, perhaps the ‘poor me’ bit of Monroe itself starting to get on my nerves. None-the-less, this is better than most of what you can find at the local cineplex, so it is worth seeing, especially for Monroe or Olivier fans, those liking low key English drama’s and/or those who enjoy films about films.

The movie was directed by Simon Curtis.  You can watch the trailer below.

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