My Week with Marilyn (2011) starring Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Ormond, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Zo Wanamaker directed by Simon Curtis Movie Review

My Week with Marilyn (2011)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Michelle and Marilyn

With Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh - The Boat That Rocked) making a romantic comedy with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams - Meek's Cutoff) at Pinewood Studios, young film student Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) manoeuvres his way into a job as an assistant on the set. It is a troubled production due to conflict between Marilyn and Olivier who can't stand her method acting or her complete disregard for schedules. When production stops for a week young Colin finds himself getting to spend the week with Marilyn having become a close confident to her.

Who was Marilyn Monroe? Was she the sex bomb, the nervous star, the insecure actress or was she someone else. It seems to me that anyone who has ever fallen in love with Marilyn Monroe has their own personal vision of who Marilyn was even if they had never met her. It is testament to who Marilyn Monroe was that there is still an aura about who she really was, was she the dumb blonde or was she brighter than she looked, was she shy or was she confident.

Eddie Redmayne in My Week with Marilyn (2011)

But that mystery surrounding who Marilyn Monroe was and what she was like always brings with it a problem when someone decides to make a movie which features Monroe because you are always going to appeal to some and disappoint others. That is part of the problem with "My Week with Marilyn" as whilst Michelle Williams does a good job of not just imitating Marilyn but playing her as a person there are elements which don't ring true to my vision of Marilyn Monroe, the luminosity of the star just doesn't come across and to be honest Williams does not always look like Marilyn. Having said all of that there is no denying that Williams' performance is good and it is the heart of the movie bringing various colours to the character and taking us through elements from the sexy star to the insecure actress who just wanted to be great but also loved.

Aside from Williams' performance what we have with "My Week with Marilyn" is a love affair, that of Colin Clark's first love of Marilyn. It is a gentle plot with Eddie Redmayne doing a nice job of playing Clark with charming subtlety.

In the end what ended up entertaining me the most was the combination of a lot well known faces and that nostalgic recreation of a bygone era of movie making. From Kenneth Branagh comically playing Olivier and Emma Watson as a young girl working in the costume department to Zoë Wanamaker behind the big rimmed classes as Paula Strasberg "My Week with Marilyn" has a great look and style which makes it engaging and fun. In fact at times the movie is stolen from everyone by the wonderful performance of Judie Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike.

What this all boils down to is that "My Week with Marilyn" didn't do it for me in the same way as it seems to have done for some people who were wowed by Williams' performance as Marilyn Monroe. But the recreation of a bygone era of film making and the cast of famous names and well known faces made it entertaining and fun for me.


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