My Rating: 3.5 Stars
IMDB Rating: 7/10
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language (some nudity)
IMDB Synopsis: Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier’s, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during production of The Prince and the Showgirl.
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond
I’d been interested in seeing this for some time now and was thrilled to see it pop up on Netflix. It’s based on true events, and as someone who wasn’t alive during Marilyn Monroe’s heyday, I thought it would be an interesting watch. I can definitely say that I wasn’t disappointed with the amount of ‘interesting’ in this movie.
Let’s start with the cast. This cast is excellent, and full of really wonderful actors. I can’t speak to how accurate Michelle Williams’ depiction of Marilyn Monroe is, but I thought she was wonderful. I’ve seen Williams in other movies, and she really created a very three-dimensional character here, showing us just how troubled and charismatic Monroe is. Kenneth Branagh is the perfect choice to portray Sir Laurence Olivier, frequently spouting Shakespeare (Branagh’s bread and butter). Dame Judi Dench plays a very sweet, very helpful older actress who tries to encourage Monroe when Olivier is mean to her (which he is, frequently). And then you have Eddie Redmayne, playing Colin, who wrote the book this film is based on. He plays the sweet and naïve third assistant to the director, who falls in love with Marilyn. Emma Watson plays a smaller part of a wardrobe girl who likes Colin, but sees his infatuation with the American movie star, wisely attempting to keep her distance.
Colin and Marilyn’s relationship is so tragic; you know it’s going to end badly. Marilyn is in London with her husband at the time Arthur Miller, so you know nothing good can come of their blossoming friendship. But Colin is very naïve and believes that he is different and that Marilyn will leave her husband for him.
It was interesting to watch a film being made, as that’s the reason Marilyn is in London. Olivier asked her to come and star in “The Prince and the Showgirl”. Just for fun, here’s the trailer for that movie, released in 1957:
I hadn’t watched that trailer or movie before seeing My Week With Marilyn, and now, having seen both, it’s fantastic how much attention to detail was paid in to make My Week with Marilyn look just like The Prince and the Showgirl.
After watching this movie, I can only assume Marilyn Monroe had a very tragic and miserable upbringing. She is very troubled, and struggles with making it to the set on time. She is extremely nervous and has to be repeatedly told how wonderful she is by her acting coach. You really feel bad for her, as I can imagine how nerve-wracking of a situation it was. But she is very suspicious of her husband as well, finding notes he’d written for a story and assuming he was bashing her. She appears to have led a very sad life underneath all the fame.
An interesting look at one of the most famous women of the past century. Recommended for fans of biographical type pieces and anyone who likes any of the actors mentioned above.