In this “slice of life” film we are granted a brief look at the life of the world’s biggest star of the time – Marilyn Monroe. That view is given to us by way of the memoirs of Colin Clark, a young and slightly doe-eyed man, who is working on his first ever film set. Check out the review after jump.
Michelle Williams stars as a rather messed up Ms Monroe, in a rather tumultuous time in her life. The year is 1956 and she has recently married [her third husband] playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), and already things are rocky between them. She is the hottest ticket in the world of entertainment, and yet it takes much hand-holding and drugs to even get her out of bed.
We view Marilyn through the eyes of a young man Colin (Eddie Redmayne), who by virtue of determination and his family contacts, has managed to garnish a small job with Sir Lawrence Olivier’s film company. The film is The Prince And The Showgirl which is directed by and stars Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) as the male-lead, and Marilyn as the female-lead. Colin is a rather naïve young man who quickly falls deeply in love (or lust really) with the famous beauty. Marilyn decides she likes Colin, and for a short time he becomes part of her world.
The Marilyn in this film is quite frankly a mess. She is moody, lacking confidence, never on time – basically she lives in her own [drugged up] world. She is a nightmare to work with on the set, and some of the funniest interactions are between her and a completely frustrated Olivier. Colin becomes much like a security blanket for her, and he is more than happy to indulge her.
The film makes a point of showing that there is an on-stage Marilyn and a the real, quite broken Marilyn. In one scene when Marilyn is at Windsor Castle, she turns to Colin and says “Should I be her?” – She then turns to the gathered staff, acts surprised – and as quick as you can blink, turns on the full-force Marilyn charm. While the film hints at the reason for her sadness, it never goes into any real detail.
Michelle Williams is a good, but not amazing Marilyn. While she has the look, she doesn’t quite have the same magnetism and sex appeal as the real deal. Kenneth Branagh is surprisingly the stand-out performer in this film. He manages to add a great deal of life and depth to Olivier, and his comedic timing is absolutely spot on. Judi Dench also delights, playing the well-respected Dame Sybil Thorndike.
The film is beautifully shot and well put together. It’s quite an enjoyable film to watch as it is rather a quiet film, in which lovely scenes in the pretty British countryside are dispersed. Unfortunately the film lags a bit in the third quarter; and you might find yourself wishing that the story was focusing less on Colin’s infatuation, and more on the reasons behind Marilyn’s behavior.
Overall My Week With Marilyn is a very enjoyable film that offers an interesting glance at the troubled life of the famous beauty. Go in expecting a Marilyn bio-pic and you will be disappointed – but if you’re after some well-made light entertainment, then you can’t go wrong with this film.
Director: Simon Curtis
Writer(s): Adrian Hodges, Colin Clark (books)
Starring: Michelle Williams, Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne
Runtime: 99 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: February 16th 2012; New Zealand: March 8th 2012