Although Michelle Williams impeccably portrays the late, great Marilyn Monroe, there’s no need to rush to the theaters to see this one. It’s a light and mostly comical story about Marilyn Monroe shooting The Prince and the Showgirl in England in 1957. Based on the memoirs of Colin Clark (The Prince, the Showgirl and Me), the film is narrated by Colin (Edie Redmayne). He plays the third assistant on the movie set and imagines he can restore Monroe’s self-confidence and dilute her profound sadness. If you look at stills from The Prince and the Showgirl, the resemblance of costumes and sets is uncanny; the film is markedly accurate in its portrayal. True to the tail, Laurence Olivier acts and directs the film. Kenneth Branagh is commanding as Olivier, seething at Monroe when she shows up late to set, but in love with the idea of her. 

The film opens with Monroe on stage, performing a musical number. As the camera pulls away, we see that it’s a cinemaplex with a large audience watching her on screen. In fact, Monroe doesn’t make an actual appearance in the film until the 20 minute mark when she debarks from the plane with the paparazzi’s bulbs flashing away. We are introduced to Monroe as an enigma, a star on stage always performing as “Ms. Monroe” for her public. She says sadly of her 3 failed marriages that people always want to be with “Marilyn” and when they find out its just her, they run. Monroe is a brand that sells well. The film also ends with Monroe on stage, performing again for her public.

I’ve seen a lot of Monroe films, and William’s portrayal of the actress is spot on with every affect. Her humor and lilting voice exude sex with every slow blink of her eyes. With excellent acting and a stellar soundtrack, it’s a nice film to rent at home but lacks the drama and force to pull you into the theater.

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