My Week With Marilyn

What really happened in 1956 between Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe when they made "The Prince and the Showgirl?" Olivier's assistant, Colin Clark, tells us in this name-dropping drama based on his best-selling autobiographical novel, The Prince, the Showgirl and Me.

Just look at this cast of characters:
  • Michelle Williams ("Blue Valentine") is Marilyn, insecure, intimidated and freshly married to playwright Arthur Miller. The brilliant Williams captures Marilyn's luminosity and tentative mannerisms, she even runs like her! We believe her vulnerability when we gasp at Olivier's thoughtless comment, "You don't HAVE to ACT, just be SEXY!"
  • Kenneth Branaugh ("Valkyrie") is Sir Laurence, who holds "Method" actors in utter contempt. Paula Strasberg, Marilyn's acting coach, makes no attempt to urge her to work on time, and because Olivier is the ultimate professional, it drives him crazy.
  • Eddie Redmayne ("Pillars of the Earth") is Colin Clark, swept off his feet by his needy charge. His character is the heart of the film and Redmayne's youthful naiveté plus a light sprinkling of freckles won me over completely.
  • Emma Watson ("Harry Potter") is Lucy, a lowly employee at Pinewood Studios, who quickly learns she can't compete with an legend.
  • Dominic Cooper ("An Education") is Milton Greene, an American who is frantically, and futilely, trying to run interference for his world-famous client.
  • Judi Dench ("J. Edgar") is Dame Sybil Thorndike, gracious, kind and thoughtful. Dench very nearly steals this film from a roomful of scene-stealing professionals.
  • Toby Jones ("Harry Potter") is Arthur Jacobs, another American character. Jones, Dougray Scott, Dominic Cooper and Michelle Williams put on and take off accents like I change my socks. They are amazing!
  • Julia Ormond ("Temple Grandin") is Vivien Leigh, painfully aware of Olivier's school-boy crush on Monroe, but gracious to her, nonetheless.
  • Dougray Scott ("There Be Dragons") completely disappears into his role as Arthur Miller, who quickly learns the price of his new bride's fame. He promptly decamps for New York.
Even though this R-rated film has a bit of tasteful nudity, we see no sweaty bodies, no gunshots, no car chases, no blowie uppie stuff, and only sporadic profanity. It has LOTS of super-close closeups, as a camera lovingly examines all those attractive faces.

We enjoy the music of 1956 with Dean Martin and Nat King Cole, plus Marilyn, who sings Heat Wave, That Old Black Magic, and a few more. Our screening audience applauded.

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Here is a two-minute preview:
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