In 1956, Sir Lawrence Olivier (played by Kenneth Branagh) is directing and starring in the movie “The Prince and the Showgirl”, which is being made in England. Young film buff, Colin Clark (by Eddie Redmayne), manages to secure his first job as third assistant director (message boy) on the film. Olivier’s co-star is Marilyn Monroe (by Michelle Williams), who has travelled from the US with her husband Arthur Miller (by Dougray Scott) and her much depended on acting coach Paula Strasberg (by Zoe Wanamaker) for the duration of the filming. Olivier is in awe of her, but becomes impatient with her acting naivety – but her other co-star Dame Sybil Thorndyke (by Judi Dench) is far more patient and understanding. Occasionally, Olivier’s wife, Vivien Leigh (by Julia Ormond) attends the production stage to watch progress. Marilyn is clearly struggling with this role and Colin becomes totally smitten by her. He manages to become her favourite after her husband departs for France and as work on the movie continues a friendship blossoms between Marilyn and the love-struck young man.
This is an easy, sweetly told story – Michelle Williams is totally marvellous as Marilyn. She is exactly how I would expect Marilyn to be – sexy, soft, sensuous and flirtatious with just a hint of innocence. She is truly wonderful. Branagh does well as the gruff Olivier and the young Colin is portrayed very realistically by Eddie Redmayne. I really enjoyed Judi Dench’s beautiful and understanding Dame Sybil. Emma Watson also has a small role in this movie. The film is a true story, based on diaries kept by Colin Clark at the time. Overall – Michelle Williams and Judi Dench are fabulous, the rest of it is okay. It was directed by Simon Curtis.