‘All people ever see is Marilyn Monroe. As soon as they realize I’m not her, they run.”
Here’s one of the sweet and sentimental, light and nostalgic films of the last year that got its attention after it’s nomination in Oscar race. Agree that there’s lot of cliché in plot and the film gains its draw from somebody so iconic and tantalizing beauty like Marilyn but than the film has certain moments where Marilyn breathes so much human off the screen. Kudos to Michelle Williams; she really worked hard here and successfully evoked Marilyn's oozing boldness, charm and personal doom to screen.
The film is narrated by a young man named Colin Clark. Though born in rich and overachiever family, he is dreaming cinema day and night and too desperate to work in film business that he’ll go by any means. He got a chance to work as third assistant director in Sir Laurence Olivier Productions making a film with the blonde goddess of all-time. Colin’s job on set is to follow the orders from his seniors but than he has many roles to play i.e. - He has to save Mr. Olivier from the blonde’s charm; a responsibility offered by Mr. Olivier’s wife Vivien Leigh. He has to follow his heart with that dress managing girl, he has to follow Mr. Olivier’s instant orders and at the same time he has to do his job on sets. But among all this he shares the company of Marilyn from distance except that Oops! A moment of lifetime to see her bare body and share some of the most private hitchhiking moments to cherish as film progresses.
Marilyn is at the peak of his career where big studio and Producers danced on her tunes. But behind the external glory, fame and oomph on the screen, here’s fading unfortunate poor soul whose private life is personal tragedy. She grew up not knowing who’s her real father, watching her mother went asylum and brought up at other’s home…than Hollywood made her star and icon…in pursuit of love and happiness, she married three times at thirty and still not find a happy home, life or a man to love any further! Marilyn’s constant nervous breakdown and her erratic and insecure behavior on/off the set is testing Sir Lawrence Olivier’s patience real hard. Her personal speech-acting coach is quite a mess too. One has to accept the world’s most beloved blonde beauty on her own terms! ‘Try to change her and she’ll drive you crazy’, advised her production partner to staunch perfectionist Mr. Olivier.
Colin is the innocent young witness and victim of Marilyn’s charm and her crumbling world where even her newly wed hubby and famous playwright Arthur Miller told Olivier that she’s devouring him. Though naïve to filmdom, Colin grasps the messy situation between two legends; it’s expressed when he says to Marilyn in a sweet and memorable scene, “It’s agony for him because he’s great actor that wants to be a film star, And it’s agony for you because you’re a film star who wants to be a great actress. And this film won’t help either of you.” Quite a learning lesson to all wannabe Bollywood/Hollywood stars trying hard to count as an actors, isn’t it?
In features Michelle Williams is not an absolute match for Marilyn and so is Kenneth Branagh as Olivier but both of these players gradually made their impressions on screen. Especially Williams who vividly portrays the mannerism of Marilyn, the body language, the voice over is something so near to Marilyn that let us forget the other small loopholes. The film scores points in fine periodic production and dress design, background score and camerawork.
Recommended one-time watch.