The shooting has been wrapped up and he is at the bar sipping beer. There’s a murmur of disbelief all round as she steps into the bar, walks up to him and says, “I just wanted to say goodbye before leaving. Don’t forget me.” He doesn’t know what to say and mumbles, “As if I could.”
Nobody touched by the Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) charm ever could. Certainly not Colin Clark ( Eddie Redmayne) who wrote about his friendship with the actor in a book of the same name. Working as a lowly assistant director, 23-year-old Clark is assigned to do a host of odd jobs that gets him in touch with the enigmatic star.
The actor, going through a troubled marriage, fighting depression and anxiety and Olivier’s meanness, finds an unlikely chum in Clark. In him, she finds a straightforwardness that perhaps helps her forget all she wants to. It is an intimate, brief encounter. They swim naked together in a pond and exchange a kiss. “I want this to be the perfect date. I haven’t had a date since I was 13 years old,” she says. It is something like a crush for him and perhaps the passing madness of a summer afternoon for her.
The movie looks at the relationship from Colin’s point of view and makes him a young gentleman who offers to rescue Marilyn only to be refused. But My Wweek with Marilyn also brings out the inner loneliness and anxiety of the world’s most famous woman of the time. It brings out all that she values and wants. “I would have never sent my kids away to boarding school,” she says at one point. Portraying Marilyn isn’t easy but Michelle Williams brings out the complexity of her life to her face though she fails to bring out the unselfconscious appeal and magic of the star.
Director Simon Curtis’s effort shows that the movie business makes wrecks of everybody. Marilyn succumbed to its poison but even Vivien Leigh ( Julia Ormond) and Sir Lawrence Olivier ( Kenneth Branagh) are damaged within. Through Colin, the movie brings out the interesting point that Olivier was an actor who wanted to become a star whereas Marilyn was a star who wanted to be an actor. That’s where the two differed in their interpretations of the role during the shooting of The Prince and the Showgirl. In the end, Olivier concedes that while he is trained in the craft, she is pure instinct. “She remains brilliant, despite me,” he says.
Filmed partly in the picture postcard British countryside, the movie is another elegy to the legend of Marilyn Monroe. It is also an ode to young love. At the end of it all when a wise old actor tells Collins, “First love is sweet despair,” we understand what she means.
The year is 1956. Young Colin Clark is keen to enter the movie world. And he is excited when he gets a job as third-assistant director in a film that actor Laurence Olivier is directing. Marilyn Monroe is the leading lady. A close encounter follows. The film is based on Clark’s real-life account.