Sir Laurence Olivier is making a movie in London. Young Colin Clark, an eager film student, wants to be involved and he navigates himself a job on the set. When film star Marilyn Monroe arrives for the start of shooting, all of London is excited to see the blonde bombshell, while Olivier is struggling to meet her many demands and acting ineptness, and Colin is intrigued by her. Colin's intrigue is met when Marilyn invites him into her inner world where she struggles with her fame, her beauty and her desire to be a great actress. Written by
Kenneth Branagh has directed, and played leads in, several Shakespeare film adaptations, like Laurence Oliver. See more »
In the closing credits, the word "Love" in the title of the song "When Love Goes Wrong (Nothing Goes Right)" is misspelled as "Loves". See more »
In 1956, at the height of her career, Marilyn Monroe went to England to make a film with Sir Laurence Olivier. While there she met a young man named Colin Clark, who wrote a diary about the making of the film. This is their true story.
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I had really looked forward to seeing this and was prepared to be knocked out by Michelle Williams.
She remains a terrific favorite of mine as modern actresses go, but there were some essential things that either she or the director got wrong.
Mainly she misses the bigger-than-life aura that movie stars have to have. Her gritty indie acting is terrific and she works hard to get the emotions and make a real character. She goes for all of that in this role, but the script is so expository and contrived (with bits and pieces from other sources that are thrown in to make sure we get it).
Her radiance seems so dim in comparison to what Monroe could truly turn on. The stark contrast between the giggles and the tears was never convincing via Williams. The wallowing, self-pitying Marilyn with a streak of manipulation comes off just okay, but becomes tedious with the repetitive and slow script. In the scenes where she is being lionized by fans, her consumption of the adulation is a poor shadow show.
Branagh is terrific. Dench dynamite as Dame Sybil. But the pace and heaviness of the direction diminish their efforts. And why would Olivier be mouthing dialogue from "The Entertainer" during the making of "Prince and the Showgirl" (The "dead behind these eyes" bit)? The filmmakers really underestimate the audience. The actors playing Milton Greene and Arthur Miller make such wretched attempts at American accents, that I won't even call them out by name.
Now to Julia Ormond. Phoned in. She's not central to the story and makes rare appearances, but again, lacks the movie star command that Vivien Leigh knew precisely. When she walks in for a visit on the set, she doesn't bring the inner radiance that makes everyone treat her like royalty--a hallmark trait of Vivien Leigh. Additionally, her final confrontation with Olivier lacked the meanness and anger and resentment that Leigh had become used to verbally stabbing poor Larry with.
It is to appreciate that someone takes these acting icons and tries to show us real people--but to not direct them to give us the spark that makes these stars interesting even still, is inexcusable and, ultimately, dull filmmaking.
In the end, what could have been a delicious look into the paper persons of icons, becomes a meandering and shallow exercise in pointlessness.
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