Commenting on the critics with Simon Columb…
Alex von Tunzelmann writes in The Guardian about accuracy of My Week with Marilyn:
“Historically, the film’s main problem is that its source for the alleged Clark-Monroe liaison is Clark’s diary. In the film’s key sequence, Monroe takes too many pills, locks herself in her bedroom, and collapses. Clark climbs in through the window. He refuses to open the door to her worried friends, asserting that he is the best person to look after her, and says he will sleep on the sofa. Instead, he gets into bed with the woozy and incoherent woman and starts telling her he loves her. According to him, that’s as far as it goes – but Monroe can’t remember anything the next morning, so you’ve only got his word for it.”
I must admit, I think it is complete fiction. There seems to be a very focussed effort to establish a air of ‘fact’ to the film – opening credits note it is “Based on a True Story”, whilst it finishes by charting ‘what happened next…’ to Colin Clark, the film’s protagonist.
Let us consider the reality. Marilyn Monroe, by this point, had been married three times. Two of these men – Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller – were successful men, both at the top of their careers: DiMaggio a Major League Baseball player, Arthur Miller a hugely critically and commercially successful playwright and author. She was rumoured to have had affairs with Robert and John F. Kennedy whilst, in the film industry, this also included Marlon Brando.
I’m not saying Marilyn did not have affairs, and I’m not saying she didn’t have an affair whilst her recently-married husband was away for a single week during filming of The Prince and the Showgirl. I am saying that the likelihood of an upper-class, son-of-an-art-historian, 3rd-assistant-director – effectively an obsessive fan – six years her junior, becoming in any way romantically involved with Marilyn Monroe strikes me as highly unlikely.
Von Tunzelmann’s article highlights the lack of reliability in the sources used – but I think you only need to watch the film and summarise what the biggest flaw is within the narrative: Marilyn Monroe would never be attracted to Colin Clark. In terms of art – books and films go down in history and maybe through these, the myth will become more important than the truth, forever connecting the Clarks with the Kennedys, the Brandos and the Millers through Marilyn Monroe.