This film is the story of Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and how she triumphed over her anxieties with the aid of a young film worker, Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne).
“Marilyn” succeeds at being what movies are supposed to be: a dance, a symphony and a sculpture all rolled into one. Choreographing the scenes, the music and the camera set-ups is a delicate task; and Director Simon Curtis succeeds.
“Marilyn” gives us a glimpse of what our lives were once upon a time, and what they still could be.
Sir Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) is the consummate stage actor and has no affection for this new “method” acting that Marilyn is bringing from America. When he sees her “acting coach” giving instructions, his ego is pricked and he becomes indignant that she is stepping on his directorial toes.
As a result, Marilyn begins to suffer anxiety about her acting talent and her place in the movie, so she leans on the third assistant director, Colin Clark, for support.
Next to her bed, Marilyn has a picture of her mother, “taken the night before they took her to the asylum, and that’s my dad (Abraham Lincoln). I don’t know who my real dad was so it might as well be him,” she half jokes.
Marilyn asks, “Do you have a home, Colin, a real one? With a mama and a daddy? And do they love you? You’re lucky. I just want to be loved like a regular girl.” Is there any doubt where her insecurities and drug use come from?
Children desperately need love from a stable parenting unit, preferably a mommy and a daddy.
“Every time I walk into the studio I feel a sense of doom come over me,” Marilyn admits. Is it the shabby reception from Olivier, or is she still feeling her childhood loss, when she was abandoned by her mother and sexually abused?
As the movie comes to an end, its sweet melancholy is punctuated with staccato piano notes. It’s amazing that forty years ago, there was another hit movie with a young man falling in love with an older woman. It was “The Summer of ’42,” and it had those same notes. “Marilyn’s theme” was created by composer Alexandre Desplat. He had to have been familiar with the extraordinary music from “Summer of ‘42” by Michel LeGrand.
There are several examples of perceptions from a wounded ego. Olivier thinks of what Marilyn’s poor discipline is doing to him, what it means to him, and what it says about him.
Vivien Leigh, (Julia Ormond) thinks about what Marilyn’s beauty means to her. She is devastated by what she supposes it means to her husband; she fears that Olivier won’t love her anymore.
Young Colin falls in love with Marilyn but she moves on after the movie, although not before leaving an enchanting memory in Colin’s young mind… and heart.
The sultry strings and the haunting clarinet set the emotional stage for most of the scenes in “Marilyn.” When Olivier delivers the line, “We are such stuff as dreams are made of,” it puts the right emotional cap on this delightful film.
Rated R for some language.
Cedric Wood, Ph.D., L.P.C., 7424 Greenville Ave. #104, Dallas, TX 75231,