Release: Friday, November 4, 2011 (limited)
We can all imagine how luxurious it would be…….but, if only getting to spend time with Marilyn Monroe was as simple and as serene as it gets portrayed in Simon Curtis’ new film. Arguably one of the biggest names that ever graced the Hollywood landscape, the thirty-year-old phenom gets a new light shone on her brilliant and elusive career in My Week With Marilyn. In fact, it is so well reincarnated that you may easily mistake it for masterfully restored found-footage on the subject, rather than a feature film of the modern generation.
It’s strengths certainly lie with the central characters: the fact that its not the real Marilyn Monroe is
almost shocking, as Michelle Williams all but disappears inside her character, flaunting her epic, ethereal beauty to scores of men throughout the world. That said, the film truly is only a sliver of her public life and thus can only express a portion of who she was beyond the superstar. But Curtis and Williams handle it significantly better than anyone who’s ever had the courage to try before.
Beyond the brilliance of Williams there are some other notable performances, like Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike; Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence “Larry” Olivier; and Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clarke. Each one of these characters comes to symbolize the mixed emotions that many people had towards Monroe; emotions that arose out of misunderstanding or perhaps the opposite, with the intent to know her more intimately. Sir Laurence, who’s directing the film The Prince and the Showgirl, is a man with short fuses and can be downright mean and bullying to his cast and crew. The tightly wound Olivier and Monroe clash frequently, allowing Branagh to bring a rather profound loathsomeness to the screen, a personality that we feel compelled to loathe ourselves.
Colin, named third-assistant director on-set of The Prince, represents something of the quieter, more modest and hard-working type who gets things done just to see his dream through. His determination is somewhat responsible for his many close encounters with Ms Monroe. He’s likable, and, with all things considered, a respectable member of the film crew.
And Judi Dench shines in her supporting role as the highly revered Dame Sybil, who from the start is never perturbed by Marilyn’s jittery, unusually tense presence on the British scene. Dench’s compassionate nature is a much-needed contrast from the jealous hostility brooding in all the male aspects.
My Week With Marilyn in a nutshell is the memoir written and documented by Colin Clarke as he got personally close with and helped guide the bombshell through one of her more difficult acting performances. It is a brilliantly balanced piece of art; neither too hot nor too cold and certainly not absonant on the material. One of the strengths of the film is how we are so quickly inclined to believe this world despite what it lacks. There’s little time wasted with character development, unnecessary dialogue between secondary cast and its extreme intimacy rewards constantly.
A particularly memorable scene is the skinny dip in the river. Man oh man. If this woman were alive today, and if she had a Facebook page.
Recommendation: Marilyn Monroe epitomized the perceived godliness that great actors/actresses achieve in the motion pictures. Imagine a film that epitomized such an individual. Here it is. You will enjoy the many quirks and childish spasms she possessed, as well as gather a greater understanding of her near-nomadic sense of being on planet earth. A wonderful character study, with a quaint storyline to back it up, My Week With Marilyn serves as a journey back in time that will continue to impress for years to come.
Running Time: 99 mins.
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