Week With Marilyn
Everyone keeps talking about how Michelle Williams is magnificent as
Marilyn Monroe. And, she is. However, I was quite shocked to sit
through the whole movie before realizing Kenneth Branagh was playing
Laurence Olivier (let's call it a chameleon-like performance by
Branagh, not Willie being totally clueless and forgetting he saw
Branagh's name in the opening credits).
Based on two books by the guy we are about to mention to the right,
Eddie Redmayne plays Colin Clark - a well-to-do young man who wants to
get into the movie making business. Through some connections and an
extremely persistent attitude, Colin finds himself working as a
production assistant on a new Laurence Olivier movie, The Prince and
While working with Olivier is quite exciting, Clark, and everyone else
associated with the picture, is ecstatic to be working with Olivier's
co-star, Marilyn Monroe (Williams). Of course, backstage drama ensues
as Monroe is a fragile, insecure actress trying to live up to the
demands and filmmaking style of her co-star, while also being mobbed by
adoring fans and paparazzi wherever she goes. Marilyn's only refuge is
the country estate where she is staying, and some fun, maybe romantic,
moments she spends with Colin.
Will Colin's heart be broken?
Can Marilyn get it together to finish the movie?
My Week With Marilyn will be best known for
Williams' portrayal of Monroe than for the tale itself. As a movie, it
feels like director Simon Curtis and writer Adrian Hodges (along with
Colin Clark contributing to the script) have broken the movie into two
parts that don't quite go together.
The first part of the movie is all about the mystique and mystery of
Monroe as we see her making her way into the country to great fanfare,
as well as Clark's funny, if not familiar, attempts to land the job.
Then, almost too late for what we expect, Curtis and Hodges put Clark
and Monroe together for a whimsical, but somewhat pointless part of the
movie. We have spent the first half of My Week With Marilyn
watching everyone getting drawn into Monroe's orbit, but it feels like
Colin and Marilyn only spend a few days together, not an entire week
and nothing all that stunning or revealing.
Yet, you can't keep your eyes off Williams. It is very easy to look
silly doing a Marilyn Monroe impression, but she captures the spirit of
Monroe and makes her irresistible. Williams is able to show so many
aspects and dimensions of the legend that you can't help but get drawn
into that orbit just like the characters on the screen. She's sad,
happy, troubled, challenged, scared, determined, and downright sexy.
While the legend might be a mess, Williams also shows Monroe had a love
of life that is infectious, when she was having a good day.
Branagh does the movie a great service by playing a second banana with
aplomb, showing us Olivier's own struggles to do the same, and giving
him a bit of a lecherous side to keep the man interesting, while Toby
Jones and Judi Dench are fantastic in smaller roles because they always
My Week With Marilyn showcases great acting,
even if the storytelling is lacking.
My Week With Marilyn is rated R for some language