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Monday, April 16, 2012

My Week With Marilyn – Monroe’s Fling with Clark

“My Week With Marylyn” is based on a true story about a young 23 year old man, Colin Clark, who is tasked with escorting Marilyn Monroe while filming the movie “The Prince and The Show Girl”

The film is based on Colin Clark’s actual memoirs “The Prince, The Showgirl and Me”

Clark has just graduated from Harvard and is looking for a job. He wants to work in film and is desperate to do so. He applies several times to work on a movie set. After being repeated rejections he convinces the director of “The Prince, The Showgirl and Me” , Sir Laurence Olivier , to hire him. He is assigned a no-pay, go-for type menial job attending to Olivier’s petty needs. As Olivier becomes increasingly frustrated with Monroe’s erratic behavior, he assigns Clark to keep tabs on her to ensure she continues to show up for work every day. It is during this time that Colin Clark wins the trust of Monroe.

“My Week with Marylyn” starts off a little predictable. Clark is hired for the go-for job and he faces the typical new-guy abuses that movies use so often to garner sympathy for the character. At first he is yelled and neglected by the director, the staff, the union steward and just about anyone else he meets. He predictably gets a little more respect as the movie progress.
The film’s plot is not remotely complex, if one even exists. People are making a film and Monroe’s unpredictable personality makes it very difficult to do so. If this wasn’t a true story I’d probably find this film a little dull and contrived. This isn’t a fictional effort though. These events are real and with that in mind the film does lend some intrigue and insight into the complex personality of Marilyn Monroe and the challenges of filming with her.
Monroe is charming, intelligent, seductive and, in a way, a bit of vampire. Everyone around her falls in love with Monroe but at the same time her moods inadvertently suck the life out of people. Actually, she not only drains everyone around her but friends and family of those people as well. Monroe means no harm, she just can’t control her unfathomable emotional needs. Michelle Williams plays Monroe perfectly. As I watched the film, Williams was so flawless that I actually thought that I was watching Marilyn Monroe herself.

I must confess, I don’t know much about Sir Laurence Olivier as a director or his ‘real life’ personality but Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal seemed convincing enough. Olivier is a trained, disciplined actor and Monroe couldn’t be more opposite. Branagh is fun to watch as he portrays Olivier’s seething over Monroe’s antics throughout the movie.

Eddie Redmayne plays Colin Clark. Redmayne is terrific as the young Clark. He portrays him with all the ambition, insecurities, confidence, naivety, and wonder that could be expected of a young man whose first job ever is keeping an eye on Marilyn.

I was expecting a film featuring a week long, torrid love affair between the younger Colin Clark and married Marilyn Monroe. The film turned out to more than just a fling. In the one hour and thirty six minutes it took to watch this film I learned more than I could imagine about what it meant to be Marilyn and the people who surrounded her tragic personality.

If you ever found Monroe intriguing I highly recommend you watch this film. If you were looking for something more salacious, this might not be your movie.
Rated R
97 Minutes

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