My Week With Marilyn

Rated 3.0

That’s Marilyn Monroe, of course, and the eponymous week was experienced by a young Englishman named Colin Clark. He was an entry-level assistant director on a 1957 British production called The Prince and the Showgirl and the diaries he kept at the time have survived as a memoir of note in part because the showgirl was Monroe and the prince was Laurence Olivier. The movie version of this charming bit of pop-cultural history makes for some rather lumpy backstage comedy/drama and an enchanting but uneven portrait of Monroe. Kenneth Branagh flounders a bit as a caricatured Olivier, Julia Ormond makes a rather undistinguished Vivien Leigh and Dougray Scott is a mere shadow of Arthur Miller. But Judi Dench has a very perky cameo as Dame Sybil Thorndike and Dominic Cooper gets to do an amusing bit of showbiz swagger as Monroe-promoter Milton Greene. Michelle Williams seems an unlikely choice to play Monroe, but her bleach-blonde physical impersonation works rather well at times and she gives an excellent account of Marilyn’s breathy way of talking. Eddie Redmayne, who plays Colin Clark with understated charm, has the special advantage of playing the least famous of the story’s main characters, and he makes good on it. Pageant Theatre. Rated R J.C.S.