Clark’s narration details the well-documented difficulties as an “unwell” Monroe struggles to cope with - well, everything - and a frustrated Olivier struggles to cope with Monroe. Olivier’s exasperation becomes increasingly evident throughout until he likens teaching Monroe to act to “teaching Urdu to a badger”. Curtis’ film certainly makes for far more comfortable viewing than The Prince and The Showgirl.
Monroe’s personal battle with her outwardly captivating appearance and constant inner turmoil was hardly the best-kept secret, yet it did nothing to diminish the scale of her stardom. It surely requires guts to take on a role such as this, and something else entirely to pull it off. It is clear from Michelle Williams’ turn as the ill-fated icon that she was the perfect choice. In fact, the casting of both Monroe and Olivier proved fruitful. Kenneth Branagh’s performance as Olivier is equally convincing and serves to provide most of the laughs – of which, somewhat surprisingly, there are many.
It would have been all too easy for My Week with Marilyn to be an over-sentimental love story. The title alone tells us what we already knew; the connection between Monroe and Clark is destined to be brief. That fact however does not detract from the pleasure of this film. Neither a queasy glimpse at first love, nor an unnecessary homage to the names-we-all-know, My Week with Marilyn is pure, easy-going enjoyment.