Director: Simon Curtis
Stars: Emma Watson, Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Dominic Cooper, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi.
Synopsis: Colin Clark is an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier’s. He documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl (1957).
Review: Colin Clark ( Eddie Redmayne ) is a young English film lover who wants to be a movie director. This guy wants to work in the film business with a fiery passion. He defiantly starts from the bottom in order to work his way up. Colin takes the initiative and impresses the local movie makers to the point where they give him a job. Marilyn Monroe goes to England to work on a movie called The Prince and the Showgirl. There Colin meets Marilyn on set of the movie. Marilyn starts having trouble and finds solace in Colin for emotional support.
This is one of the most natural parts Emma Watson has every played in a movie. This is more Emma then the character ‘Lucy’. She has confidence, charm, and absolute mesmerizing eyes. Emma owns the scene when she is in it. Eddie Redmayne does a good job as Colin. He is the average man who meets one of the biggest stars in the world. This is one of the best performances from Eddie Redmayne unlike that terrible movie Jupiter Ascending (2015) where he played the character Balem Abrasax. Its so good to see him actually give an excellent performance in this film. Derek Jacobi’s part in this film is small put potent. Superb perforce on his part just like in the movie Underworld Evolution (2006). No wonder this guy was Knighted, twice!
The film focuses on the idea of ‘nothing is what it seems‘. Marilyn Monroe seems like she is on top of the world in front of the camera but she is a mess in this film. In this movie Marilyn says that the Hollywood actress is a deferent person from her own self. You hear that a lot in the entertainment business just like Katherine Hudson and her on screen persona ‘Katy Perry’. Many times celebrities are personified as the Hollywood characters they portray and can never go back to being themselves. In some ways this is the ’Selling of the Soul’ you hear about once in a while from entertainers. Sadly we fans tent to appreciate the celebrity for who they are not, rather than who they are, even if the fans are not doing this on purpose. Sometime being a ‘plastic’ person or ‘shell’ of them selves tent to lead some celebrities into deep depression and at worse suicide. Its common knowledge that Hollywood is very demanding. You trade your privacy, paparazzi following you everywhere, lies about you although out the tabloids, and the internet for money. Some people would say ‘hey, at least your rich’, but with more and more technology and fame, we as a human species forget the human element. We tent to forget that celebrities are human just like us and not gods. Film making is a product of technology. Tech has a heavy cost when people use it incorrectly. Here is an example. Most people have smart phones at a lunch table and are texting constantly on social media. No one really talks to the person to the left or the right of them. This can be an example of us humans living in our own little world where we are completely oblivious to the real world. Treating a celebrity like a god rather than human has very real negative effects on that person, sure they want fame and fortune, most people would, but as usual we humans get carried away every time we touch new technology.
As for the people at the lunch table in my little example, so many millennials report being depressed and lonely even though they have literally thousands of ‘friends’ on social media. Why? Hyper focusing on everything technological ‘Transhumanism’ instead of focusing on the human element of ‘Humanism’ has its consequences. being obsessed with our smart phones virtual reality is not very different from obsessing with the idea of Marilyn Monroe. Sadly we live in a dopamine addicted world all the while we ignore the negative affect it has on people. In this movie Marilyn Monroe is taking all manner of pills. Pills so she can sleep, pills so have can stay awake, pills so she can calm down, etc. So instead of getting down to the root of the problem, she is drugged into getting up out of bed every day. Its insanity to think that doing this to a person is normal. But at the same time she was an adult that could have stopped this if she really wanted to. Yet here we are with the addictive dopamine rush that has her going back into another movie again and again, just like people addicted to their smart phones. Its been said that artificial environments such as an office or warehouse has a higher chance of leading you into depression. Do an internet search for more on this. Whether or not this is valid, when Marilyn Monroe is in nature in this movie she is so much happier rather than the closed and dull environments that she works in. She has a very free spirit when she is walking in the garden and when she goes back into the film studio, she does give a better performance which makes the director happy. Lets keep in mind that this is still a Hollywood movie and that the accuracy of the films events will always be in question when movie makers condense days or even weeks of time into a two hour film.
The movie looks great. Its a period piece after all, they always look better. The classic cars, classy women, everyone has manners, clothing was better, the architecture looks better, society wants as screwed up. In this film you get to see the process of film making. Its funny how you see a movie about making a movie but it is really interesting. The movie gets you right into the story wasting no time at all. Great! This movie has a much more realistic view of life than most films. Things don’t always go as planned. For the character Colin, he tries to create certain relationships but they don’t really go the way he wants them to. He doesn’t get mad, he tents to go with the flow while every one else is about ready to pull their hair out of their heads with frustration and stress. If you could compare show business to an amusement park, Colin is the guy who only thinks about being on a roller coaster ride having fun, while the director and producers are the people who have to think about driving to the park, trying to find a parking space, paying for parking, waiting in line to get in the park, waiting in line to get on a ride, and then finally getting to have fun. On top of all of the realistic preproduction, hard skills, and soft skill they have to deal with, Marilyn Monroe’s troubles on the movie set starts to break the other characters. Some of them just cant take it any more and leave while others stay and deal with her. On the outside they play it cool but they do tent to break rather than bend in the winds of stress. Its hilarious how Colin just smiles in stressful situations and he gets what he wants, a great example of soft skills.
This is a good film. You can tell this movie was made with quality in mind. Playing Marilyn Monroe is very big shoes to fill for any actress. I think that Michelle Williams did her best, but there is only one Marilyn Monroe and she can never be duplicated. Michelle Williams comes off as sincere and true but anyone’s attempt at being Marilyn Monroe will all ways feel like an impersonation rather than bring Marilyn Monroe back to life. Great effort though. The cinematography is very well done. Excellent use of wide shots. The film makes interesting use of lighting. The best scenes are when Marilyn is out side in the natural sun light. There you get the two profile shots and perfect lighting. These scenes are the closes you’ll feel like Marilyn Monroe is in the movie. There is one scene where Marilyn is distraught and talking to her agent. The scene uses an excellent shadow vignette to show the audience how Marilyn feels. Its as though she is psychologically in a dark place. The scene has a little light in the center focus of the camera to show the audience that she is coming out of her dark depression. Conversely there is a scene where Marilyn is feeling better and is laughing, she then says to another character ‘lets go for a walk in the garden’. They both walk into the bright light of the sun reflecting their happiness. lighting plays the same part for all of the characters. When they are in a dark place, shadows are cast on the characters or the lighting will have a dull orange hue in the frame to show their disposition. The lighting will be bright when the characters are happy. This is very artistic and well done. Set dressing and wardrobe are perfect. The musical score is fits the scenes well. The movie is very well paced. This was a good watch. Its by no means action film. Its something to sit back and enjoy.
This blog focuses on the top ten British actresses of today. Showing our appreciation for all of the wonderful hard work these incredible women do to entertain us with their truly magnificent art.