Rating: 5 out of 5
This sliver of time in the life of Marilyn Monroe highlights a woman already famous & now on her third marriage – this time to the author Arthur Miller – that still requires validation.
This movie opens the world on a Marilyn wracked with insecurities & craving attention, validation & affirmation as a serious actress. This movie does not attempt to address the issue of the reasons for her insecurity but it does shine a sharp light on it.
For all her fame, it was more of the bimbo variety. Perhaps this is the source of her insecurity in that she is now costarring with Laurence Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl; a film she firmly believed would finally cement her reputation as a serious actress.
A clearly exasperated Olivier played by Kenneth Branagh has to deal with an increasingly erratic & irascible Marilyn who is constantly late & battling with her lines. This results in Marilyn taking an overdose of pills.
Oliver & management use a young assistant, Colin Clark, to keep Marilyn on track. In Colin Clark, Marilyn finds a charming but emotionally inexperienced person, with whom she develops a close personal relationship. Sensing this immaturity despite their only being a difference of seven years in their ages, she uses him as a crutch to comfort her. From Marilyn’s perspective, their relationship is purely platonic but Colin become increasingly enamoured by this sexually mature woman & becomes infatuated with her & even foolishly proposes a more serious relationship.
It is at this point that Marilyn rebuffs his suggestion & gets her act together. This allows her to complete the movie in style without any further hitches.
For me, this movie is an eye-opener. Marilyn is incapable of performing without her fawning & doting assistants & their constant assurances of her ability. More questions are raised in one’s mind than are answered about the reasons for her insecurity & even Arthur Miller, despite having only recently been married to Marilyn, acknowledges that he cannot abide her nature.
The revelatory nature of movie is what held me spell bound as it added another dimension to the outgoing publicity seeking Monroe.