How do you even begin to make a film about the most famous blonde bombshell ever to walk the earth?
Director Simon Curtis, bravely, does exactly that. Treading carefully (while hitting the Hollywood jackpot) the film adapts from a memoir by Colin Clark, who was an assistant director on The Prince and the Showgirl (Laurence Olivier, 1957) which Marilyn spent time filming in London.
During this time, Clark boasts of a brief relationship with the star, who had recently married playwright Arthur Miller. Marilyn’s diva behaviour on set was said to aggravate Laurence Olivier so much so that he didn’t direct for 13 years afterward.
Stepping into the sexpot’s shoes is a superb Michelle Williams, whose perfect posterior wiggles in such a studied way that it manages to seduce the audience in a likeness to the screen goddess herself.
Pouting like a princess, we see her childlike naiveté beneath a veil of starlight shimmer and showgirl razzle-dazzle. Flitting between her superficial public persona and the figure of fragility under paparazzi scrutiny, Williams presents a multi-faceted and intriguing subject.
Similarly, her star-studded supports; Dame Judi Dench (a true veteran of the period drama), Zoe Wanamaker, Dominic Cooper and Kenneth Branagh, whose hilarious and spirited portrayl of Laurence Olivier illuminates the timeless worth of one of the greatest stars of all time.
Eddie Redmayne shines as the young man in love, Colin Clark, whose innocence and enthusiasm is played with sincerity. Emma Watson also stars in her first big screen role since the end of the Harry Potter franchise. Beginning to shed her school-girl persona, Watson shows a glimmer of greater things to come.
Skyrocketing into fame, Marilyn presents the very essence of the media circus which Hugh Grant is currently campaigning to reform in the British press.
Becoming the product or “cash cow” for the industry, Marilyn was hounded by paparazzi and blinded by photographers whose relentlessness was undoubtedly responsible for the sex symbol status that followed her.
Seemingly the film, like the star, has been accused of being the product of a marketing company, made equally pleasing and patronizing to mass audiences in the run up to Oscar season.
Despite these claims, the film presents the kind of Anglophilia which The King’s Speech (2010) capitalized on, in a formula which compliments the sweeping Hollywood epics of the 50s, while making twee of the traditional and postcard of the picturesque.
In a style that suits, Curtis stays safely between the lines of what we already know about Marilyn. By celebrating her in this form, (the first film of its kind), Curtis has created the template for homage to the star, etched in cinema stardust and frozen in celluloid.
My Week With Marilyn proves the enduring allure of the sexy screen icon.
In cinemas now.