A star studded cast more than over compensates for this slightly self-indulgent, whimsical short story of one man’s moment or should I say several moments, with one of the most famous women in history.
The film revolves around the making of the film ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. The main storyline however is that of a young man’s brief encounter and mild “love affair” with the hottest blonde in the 1950’s. Naturally, given the star attraction being Marilyn Monroe, there is a gratuitous helping of insight into the extraordinary life of this young woman, which tries and succeeds to see perspectives from both the perceived ditzy, drug laden vixen and the cinematic world that loved her and loathed her in equal measure. Michelle Williams exuded the essence of the ‘Marilyn’ charm, dizziness, fright and childish behaviour.
Colin, a 23 year old boy born from wealth, can’t settle into the doctor/lawyer life path that is the sole vision of destiny his parents have for him. His passion lies in the glitz and glamour of the film world. He sets off to London, leaving behind him the family’s country pile, in a quest for an interview with a film director, a family friend which is none other than Laurence Olivier.
An expectant cast are kept waiting day in day out for the sultry American starlet who, despite her fame, is nervous beyond measure and uncontrollably void of self-belief. This is undoubtedly the outcome from the daily consumption of drugs and alcohol but is not at all helped by the frustrated and impatient Laurence Olivier played by a sublime Kenneth Brannagh who effortlessly, believably lives and breathes every word, and every movement of this legendary film star.
Emma Watson plays the part of a costume assistant, the first female to catch the eye of our intrepid 3rd Assistant Director Colin who woos her with expensive dinners and champagne before falling head over heels for the blonde and who promptly drops her like a hot brick. Emma over plays the part with her rigid, forced acting approach which I find fairly excruciating.
Dame Judi Dench, the legend, is as always 100% believable in the part she plays, whatever she plays. She is not the leading lady in the film, however she is very much the lady leading the acting. At one minute she is the kind old grandma, offering words of comfort to the American star and the next she is taking Laurence to task over his impatient behaviour.
Eddie Redmayne very much looks the part of a young dashing type, but delivers very little in believable passion, whether he is admiring from afar, or when he is on his one and only date out in the country with the object of his affection who is clearly only available due to the fact of her husband being out of the country. The chemistry had barely gotten to the test tube stage, but someone had neglected to even switch the gas on with which to light the Bunsen burner. Again the stage school approach was disappointing. One expected a good bit of on screen passion given the sex symbol in question, but was left somewhat flat and dry.
So to conclude, it was certainly not an hour of my life I can get back, but it was an hour of my life not entirely wasted. I learned a little bit about the life of Marilyn Monroe, and something of a phenomenon occurred. I felt the urge to write a film review. This is a first!