What an entertaining film this is! This is a delightful movie about being star struck in 1956 and having the determination and family connections to progress a dream past fantasy and into reality.
Based around the making of “The Prince And The Showgirl” – an unfairly maligned picture – the story is based on Colin Clark’s memoirs about working as a third assistant director for Sir Laurence Olivier.
No, reader, I had no idea who Colin Clark was either, before this, but he had a very impressive CV and family.
The undoubted star of this is the increasingly wonderful Michelle Williams, who is too physically slight and small-chested to be the real Marilyn Monroe, but who absolutely shines like marble in bringing an icon to life. You forget the physical differences between the two women very quickly.
Michelle Williams has come a very long way from the naughty teenager she played in “Dawson’s Creek” and she engages you completely in the action.
From set to castle to Eton, the script (credited to Adrian Hodges and Colin Clark) sizzles with great lines and the pace never flags. Director Simon Curtis makes the viewer’s time fly. Both I and my friend were enthralled.
Kenneth Branagh turns in a superb performance as Olivier, as his patience with Marilyn gets thinner and his worries grow about delays to the completion of the film.
The surprise here is how very well Eddie Redmayne holds his own against the thespian A team of British and American talent here. His Colin is delicate and nuanced and utterly believable.
Emma Watson is best known as Harry Potter’s Hermione and you completely forget that she, like Michelle, was a child star as she brings great oomph to her small part as Lucy.
There just isn’t a bad performance here. Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller seems a bit wrong, but he pulls it off. Judi Dench, Zoe Wanamaker, Julia Ormond, Dominic Cooper and Toby Jones are all excellent.
Some might argue that there isn’t a big theme here and that it’s just a tale about the making of a film. For me, the underlying message is relevant to our celebrity-obsessed times and there are some satisfying insights about the nature and troubles of a public life.
With a sense of time and place and beautiful period details, even the music feels authentic and true.
This movie is truly worth seeing.