Film: My Week with Marilyn
Director: Simon Curtis
Stars: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Dougray Scott, Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Emma Watson, Julia Ormond, Zoë Wanamaker, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi
Based on the autobiographical books The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn by Colin Clark.
Sir Laurence Olivier is making a movie in London. Young Colin Clark, an eager film student, wants to be involved and he navigates himself a job on the set. When film star Marilyn Monroe arrives for the start of shooting, all of London is excited to see the blonde bombshell, while Olivier is struggling to meet her many demands and acting ineptness, and Colin is intrigued by her. Colin’s intrigue is met when Marilyn invites him into her inner world where she struggles with her fame, her beauty and her desire to be a great actress.
What I thought of it:
First off, Williams is absolutely incandescent as the enigmatic Monroe; she absolutely nails her voice, mannerisms and playfulness as well as embodying her anguish, depression and anxiety. No matter who they had approached with a view to filling this role, they could never have done better than this. She actually give Streep a run for her money as a contender for Best Actress at the Oscars. She won’t win, which is something of a tragedy, because, well, because she’s up against Strep and she kind of has it in the bag, doesn’t she? Either way, Williams deserves a hell of a lot of recognition and accolade for her work on this film.
Secondly, Redmayne really proves his metal; he gives a sensitive portrayal of Clark and is a wonderful foil for Williams. He’s a major up-and-comer and I think we’re going to see a lot more of him in coming years. I certainly look forward to seeing him in Les Misérables later this year.
And there’s the superb supporting cast which reads like a who’s who of British talent, from Brannagh (at times you’d swear it was Olivier on the screen), to Wannamaker, Ormond, Scott and Cooper in smaller but pivotal roles. Watson struggles a little to throw off the schoolgirl Hermione, but she’s fresh-faced and sweet here, and given a little time and experience off the Harry Potter films, I think she’ll come into her own. There’s also Dench and Jacobi to add even more class in their bit-parts.
I am now determined to read the books as this glimpse into a short period in Marilyn’s life and work is absolutely fascinating. Monroe is charming and frustrating in equal measure, but always alluring, and her appeal is as strong today, fifty years after her tragically early death, as it was at the height of her career.