When Colin Clark, the wealthy son of a nobleman, was twenty-three, he worked as a third assistant director for Sir Laurence Olivier on the set of THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. The movie co-starred Olivier as the Prince and Marilyn Monroe as the Showgirl. Olivier hired Monroe as his co-star because he was intending the movie to be the film that would ignite his career with American audiences. Monroe was hoping the experience of working with the illustrious Olivier in an English production would help her land more serious roles and be the stepping stone to becoming a seriously regarded actress. However, neither the experience nor the film itself turned out the way either had hoped. During the filming of THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, Clark spent a week closely working with Monroe, becoming her escort and confidant. MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is based off Clark's books (he wrote two different books about the experience).
The film begins with Clark (Eddie Redmayne) determined to get a job at Laurence Olivier's (Kenneth Branagh) film studio. He's eventually hired and goes to work as Olivier's third assistant director on the set of his newest production, THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. Shortly after Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) arrives in England with all her entourage, including drama coach Paula Strausberg (Zoe Wanamaker) and new husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). There's lots of photo ops with Monroe and Olivier as the press eats up the meeting of American film royalty and British theatre royalty. The honeymoon is extremely short-lived and problems begin almost the instant filming begins as Monroe never on time and doesn't seem to understand the simplest direction. Olivier becomes outraged and the production becomes prolonged. During this time, Clark becomes acquainted with Monroe and she ends up choosing Clark to be her "friend" during this difficult period for her.
The acting in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is superb. Williams delivers a stellar performance and is uncanny in her portrayal of Monroe. Likewise, Branagh's performance as Olivier is dead-on, too. I had never heard of Colin Clark before, but Redmayne gives a solid performance, too. Dame Judi Dench gives a wonderful performance as Dame Sybil Thorndike and Emma Watson, in her first post-Harry Potter role, is a delight on the screen as Lucy, the pre-Marilyn love interest of Clark.
I enjoyed MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, but I was somewhat disappointed by it, too. The movie features some fantastic acting and the story involves some fascinating, real-life characters. However, this movie isn't about Marilyn Monroe or Laurence Olivier. It's about Colin Clark. The film is told from his point of view. Therefore, though Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier are featured, they aren't really what the story is about. The story is about this fascinating time in Clark's life and his thoughts and experiences while working on THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. This one experience provides a lifetime of memories for him, but it's still just a week in his life and at the end of the movie he's not much different than he was at the start; he has a movie production under his belt, but he's still the son of a nobleman.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is a movie worth watching if you enjoy great acting, are a fan of any of the actors involved in the production, or if you have an interest in any of the real-life people the movie is about. The pacing of the movie is a bit uneven and the focus of the story is Clark and not Monroe or Olivier. With that said, it's still rather interesting to see how this one particular person spent his week with Marilyn Monroe.
I remember when I was in Hollywood a few years ago and was on the Walk of Fame. Out of all of the stars, the one that I saw the most people taking pictures of and literally laying next to on the (dirty) street was Marilyn Monroe. It was actually quite astonishing that after all of these years Marilyn Monroe still captures the psyche of people. She is the quintessential icon of classic Hollywood and the epitome of a timeless sex symbol. At times I feel that the idea and persona … more
The troubled production of “The Prince and the Showgirl” in 1957, as seen through the eyes of a young crewman, focuses on the emotionally fragile Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). Her crippling lack of confidence infuriates the film’s director and co-star Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), but third assistant director Colin (Eddie Redmayne) finds the lady enchanting and wants only to protect her. This is a sweet movie, well-acted all-around. Williams … more
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN Written by Adrian Hodges Directed by Simon Curtis Starring Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh Marilyn Monroe: All people see is Marilyn Monroe. As soon as they realize I’m not her, they run away. In 1956, one of the biggest stars and sex symbols the world has ever known travelled to England to make a movie with one of the world’s most respected stage actors. Somewhere in the middle of the inevitable chaos and drama that ensued, … more
By Joan Alperin Schwartz When the film 'My Week With Marilyn' directed by Simon Curtis, begins...we see Marilyn Monroe on a stage singing 'That Ole Black Magic'...That's who I thought it was, anyway. It actually took me a few seconds before realizing that I was watching not Monroe, but Michelle Williams...That's how good she is in her portrayal of the damaged, insecure, … more