My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Director: Simon Curtis
Plot: Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier's, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during production of The Prince and the Showgirl.

Genre: Drama
Awards: Nom. for 2 Oscars - Best Lead Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.
Runtime: 99min
Rating: PG13 for some language.



There is only one Marilyn. So imagine the luck of a lifetime when Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) had an entire week to get up close and personal with the screen icon. Marilyn Monroe, as played by Michelle Williams in perhaps the year’s most striking performance by a lead actress, was infamously sexy, seductive, and flirtatious. At her prime in the 1950s as one of the world’s most recognizable faces, she was the ultra-desirable screen goddess, yet as this film will show, she was also the most human of them all.

The film My Week with Marilyn chronicles Clark’s casual relationship with Monroe, from being the third assistant director to Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), who directs and stars with Monroe in a film called The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) – the other subject of this film, to someone Monroe relies heavily on for comfort and intimacy when things don’t work out for her. Well, you see Monroe travels to the UK to shoot the film, but she realizes acting is so much more precise and difficult under the direction of Olivier. She becomes depressed, irking her then husband, and then consequently seeking solace in Clark.

Director Simon Curtis has made a film that quite authentically recreates the laidback yet self-driven nature of British filmmaking of the 1950s in the form of Pinewood Studios. But the artistry of period filmmaking takes a backseat once Williams makes her grand entrance. The talented actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for Blue Valentine (2010), gives a masterclass in imitating Monroe, both in dialogue and facial and body expression, capturing almost all the nuances with superb skill. She is surely due an Oscar with another incredible performance that admittedly may be the only reason filmgoers would pay to watch this film.

This lovely and classy film has the requisite drama to sustain viewers’ interest, but its rather conventional approach to storytelling through the eyes of Clark still leaves much to be desired. In addition, there is not much of a plot to begin with, as the film meanders its way in and out of conflict situations, which I must say are at the very least arousing, humorous, and interesting only to see how they play out. My Week with Marilyn is not solely for fans of Monroe; it is a fresh look at the human side of an icon whom for much of her life wallowed in self-pity, longing to be truly loved. 

GRADE: B+ (8/10 or 3.5 stars)

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