While briefly working as an assistant on the set of Marilyn Monroe's film The Prince and the Showgirl, 23-year-old Colin Clark got the chance to live out every man's fantasy and fall in love with the legendary leading lady.
This was the first of the two movies I saw at the Chicago International Film Festival. It was the third public screening ever and there was a Q & A with director Simon Curtis afterwards, for which I was so fortunately seated in the front row. And of course I asked a silly question, only because I felt the urge to, but gosh did the whole event get me wired.
I have limitless praise for Simon Curtis. This was the first feature film he directed and he did an exquisite job. The film in its entirety is very appealing to the eyes and I particularly loved his use of the extreme close-up-the shots, which were always so revealing to the audience. Curtis managed to capture the emotions underneath the surface of the characters. Unfortunately, there's so much skipping around between characters that we don't see any full development take place.
Michelle Williams is MAGNETIC. Her portrayal of the inimitable Marilyn Monroe is inspired, modest, and carefully calculated. Curtis said that she was the first choice for the role and I believe his instinct was spot-on. It seemed each cast member was connected with their character and personally it was very exciting for me to see Kenneth Branagh play Olivier, Julia Ormond play Vivien Leigh, etc.
Despite the positives, I do have some qualms about the story. What I mean to ask is whether it's a story worth telling. I was very surprised when Curtis told the audience that he isn't gaga for Marilyn, but rather an average fan. What?! What on earth possessed him to tell the story then? The story, if nothing else, is a meditation on Monroe and her many eccentricities. Without a doubt, my biggest issue with the film is how weak the plot is. I don't know what we're really supposed to get out of it or how we're supposed to relate to Colin Clark. He strikes me as a giddy schoolboy who somehow lived out his celebrity crush. What do we care?
It is humorous, very witty, and the performances are top drawer. Obviously see it if you love Miss Monroe. If you don't... well, you'll probably still like it.