In the genre of historical fiction, you will often see a plot device that uses an unknown protagonist: typically a fictional person. This character acts from the audience’s perspective, guiding us around the famous historical figures and driving the story. If you didn’t know My Week with Marilyn was based on a book written by a real person – Colin Clark – you might think this is the device being used. The story either comes across as historical fiction, or even worse, fan fiction.
Clark (Redmayne) loves movies and wants to work in them. As a young, naïve 20-something he ventures off to London to try and get involved with Laurence Olivier’s (Branagh) next film. Clark succeeds and gets to meet the incredibly famous Marilyn Monroe (Williams). As the production drags on due to Monroe, Clark and Monroe develop a relationship. This is where we get to see what the real Marilyn Monroe was like.