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I attended an advance screening of "My Week With Marilyn," and much to
my surprise, was absolutely blown away. I was initially very reluctant
to accept Michelle Williams as Marilyn, one of the most beautiful and
glamorous women of all time, but she was extraordinary - luminous,
even. She pulled off the role seamlessly, and turned Ms. Monroe into a
layered, complex character, rather than the sex-kitten caricature we
are all so used to seeing. Michelle managed to show us the real Marilyn
- the woman who so desperately wanted to be loved, to be accepted, to
be good at her job. The vulnerability, the mannerisms, the voice - all
were pitch perfect. I have no doubt there will be yet another Oscar
nomination in Michelle Williams' near-future.
I was also very impressed by Eddie Redmayne, who's character was arguably the heart of the film. He was excellent as the star-struck yet sensitive Colin Clark, who helped Marilyn through her very difficult time on the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl." This was definitely a star-making turn for Eddie - I expect we'll be seeing much more of him.
The movie is similar in tone to "The King's Speech," and was helped by a beautiful score and wonderful costumes. Director Simon Curtis, who devoted eight years of his life to this project, did a wonderful job capturing the essence of 1950's England. The wardrobe department deserves a nomination, as do the writers. Kenneth Branagh was superb as Laurence Olivier, as was the great Judi Dench as Dame Sybil.
All in all, one of the best films I've seen this year, and definitely the best (not to mention most authentic) portrayal of Marilyn ever to hit the silver screen. I couldn't have been more impressed.
I just saw this film at the Mill Valley Film Festival and was pretty much blown away. My expectations were low and the very beginning of the film seemed to bear that out. Seeing well-known actors playing very well-known actors can take a little getting used to. But both Kenneth Branagh and Michelle Williams did admirable jobs. Michelle was a revelation. She completely inhabited the role of Marilyn in all of her complexity: her vulnerability, her guile, her sweetness, and her insecurity. This is one of the few performances I've seen where I would say someone is a lock for the Oscar. But this is not only a tour-de-force of acting. It is also a compelling and well-told story of the making of a film and of the competing personalities and agendas involved. Eddie Redmayne was wonderful as Colin, the narrator and main character of the story. Judi Dench was her wonderful, wise self. The cast was filled with wonderful character actors who seemed familiar and comfortable. My brother and I agreed that this was a better film than A King's Speech so on that basis alone it should win Best Picture. At the very least, it was an very entertaining and moving night at the movies.
Remember "The Prince And The Showgirl"? I saw it for the first time only a few years ago, after the death of all the protagonists. The miracle, and it is indeed a miracle, Marilyn felt so alive, so contemporary. In "My Week With Marilyn" Michelle Williams is full of light, the real light, the internal one, while everyone else is deadly opaque. The film feels like a very low budget TV movie and not even the grand manors and colleges manage to give it the production value, the story deserved. But Michelle Williams is truly enchanting. Not that she is a dead ringer for the real Marilyn. So much more demure, smaller breasts, smaller behind, only her strange kind of melancholia seems to match the original one and some of that magic essence appears to be in place. Eddie Redmayne, the narrator, whose POV drives the story is rather a cool fish. His grasp is so limp and small that I was kept longing for more. Kenneth Brannagh is very funny and Judi Dench, terrific, but Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh is just so wrong one wants to fast-forward, unfortunately, that's impossible right now. But, let's go back to Michelle Williams, the one reason to see this film and in itself she's reason enough.
Marilyn Monroe, the quintessential blonde bombshell, came to Pinewood
Studios in 1956 to shoot 'The Prince and the Showgirl', a light comedy
directed by and starring Laurence Olivier. Colin Clark, the third
assistant director on the film, was the lucky 23-year-old who got to
spend a week with her. 'My Week with Marilyn' cinematises his diary.
I imagine there aren't many characters more difficult to play than Monroe. It must be like playing Elvis. But I'm delighted to confirm that Michelle Williams makes the impossible look easy. She has thrown herself into this part and has nailed the portrayal. Aside from the physical resemblance, Williams walks, talks and acts like Monroe. It's too early to say whether she'll win the Oscar next year, but a nomination seems a certainty.
Williams' performance is bolstered by impeccable turns by an enviable roster of the creamiest cream of British talent: Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Zoë Wanamaker, Eddie Redmayne and Emma Watson. Especial mention must go to Branagh whose Olivier is impeccable. He accurately displays the legendary actor's sophistication and scurrility, and is bound to receive a supporting Oscar nod.
I loved the film's playfulness, for instance when Clark takes Monroe on a tour of Eton, followed by skinny-dipping in a cold river. The filmmakers do well to capture the craziness of Marilyn's world and the feeling of what it was like to be the most famous woman in the world. There are some lovely little touches like the scene where Clark asks Monroe why she has a picture of Abe Lincoln by her bedside. Her reply, 'I don't know who my real father was, so why not him?'.
Eddie Redmayne, who has appeared in some big films ('The Good Shepherd', 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age') is well-cast as Colin Clark. Perhaps it's because he looks so much the underdog. He sort of represents every young man who would have killed to be in his shoes.
Clark has his eyes set on Monroe but resigns himself to the fact that Emma Watson's character, a costume assistant, is more his match. A weakness in the story, although I'm unclear of the veracity, is how underused Watson is and how readily she forgives his liaison with Monroe. Didn't girls have higher standards in those days?
Simon Curtis is yet another Englishman who has moved seamlessly from TV to cinema. His film astutely plays down the fact that Colin was brother to the even more famous Alan Clark, a former Conservative MP. Rightly so, I think. This film isn't about the minister or his also-famous diaries.
I'm glad the filmmakers didn't sacrifice the film's integrity by moulding it to be rated 12A (British certificate) to increase ticket sales. The two or three flashes of flesh are not only welcome, they are vital (Monroe said that 'the body is meant to be seen'). Curtis teases us like Marilyn was famous for doing. But he knows not to go too far by showing us any more than is necessary.
In summary, this is a brilliant biopic, as well as a story of what happened when a young man got close to the star he adored. It is bittersweet and evocative of a golden age of Hollywood. I was made to care for Monroe. I felt bad for her when she was exploited. Along with Elton John's beautiful song, this film has made me understand Norma Jeane Mortenson a little better. Now I see her as more than a sex symbol. She may have been blonde but she wasn't dumb. Dumb blondes don't read James Joyce or marry Arthur Miller, or come out with some of the wittiest lines a person can utter. She was like all of us, really: a human being.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN CATCH IT ( B+ ) A young Colin Clark remembers the time he has spend with Marilyn Monroe during the filming of "The Prince and the Showgirl". The movie is told through the eyes of Colin Clark and how he sees Marilyn and her estrange relationship with the director/actor Laurence Olivier. As the movie is only about some of days Colin Clark spends with Marilyn, we don't get to see the whole drama inside her life but I must commend Michelle Williams for her stellar portrayal of Marilyn because it's her performance that takes you deep into the mind of Marilyn rather than the script itself. Michelle Williams's hardcore study on her character shows in the movie and she deserved her Oscar nod. Eddie Redmayne is impressive as always but over the years I've noticed that Eddie is always good but never really leaves a strong impact. I've seen him several movies so far but he wasn't that memorable in them. Kenneth Branagh is simply superb. Julia Ormond and Dominic Cooper are alright in their parts. Emma Watson did a decent job out of Hermione, even it was a small role but it was defiantly good to see her spreading outside Harry Potter franchise. Overall, My Week with Marilyn is a good movie and Michelle Williams's performance is worth watching. Highly Recommended! P.S I would love to see Michelle Williams reprise her role as Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn's autobiography if Hollywood decides to make one.
I liked this movie, it was a non-judgemental re-telling of a slice of history. I thought the performances were all very good by the leading characters. I have no idea what the real Marilyn was like and I don't think many people do, but Michelle Williams character is a more than plausible interpretation, vulnerable at times, manipulative at others, who really knows where the reality lies, but there was something for everyone's interpretation. The movie did a good job of depicting that moment in time and transporting the audience there for a couple of hours. I guess it is every man's fantasy to have this opportunity, so the story is a satisfying one for any man who has ever wondered what the real Marilyn may have been like.
"My Week with Marilyn" is entertaining and sufficiently well done to interest anyone who remembers her story. But those who have some exposure to the literature she has generated should be impressed by the way the film manages to represent so many of the very different views there are about her. Was she a smart, predatory woman in control of her persona and milking it for all she could get? The sad addicted victim of her handlers? An ordinary woman looking for love and happiness derailed by her own star quality? The movie represents all of these views and refuses to settle the question. The writer and director are to be congratulated for resisting the temptation to come down on a particular view.
Michelle Williams achieves the impossible. We believe she's Marilyn! Judi Dench is a hoot as Dame Sibyl Thorndike and Kenneth Brannagh has his moments. But the rest...Oh dear, Oh dear. Who though of Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh!? and Eddie Redmeyer, he's a good actor, I've seen him on stage, but here he is a hole on the screen. He doesn't project anything that could possibly touch us. I remember loving "The Prince And The Showgirl" and thinking how remarkable Marilyn was. With the benefit of hindsight she had managed to keep her performance as fresh as timeless as a real work of art. While Olivier, the"actor" of his generation seems stilted and dated. My week with Marilyn misses the mark, big time but Michelle Williams performance makes it a must.
My Week with Marilyn went through a similar case to the one of The Iron
Lady...everybody acclaimed the lead actress' performance, but nobody
spoke too much about the film itself. That might be because the people
expected a biography of the iconic blonde, when it is in fact a more
modest movie in which Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) is almost a tangential
element...an influence who alters the behaviour of those who are around
her, even without proposing it to herself. And My Week with Marilyn
also offers a look to the English cinematographic industry during the
'50s, completely different to the excesses and spectacle from
Hollywood. Anyway, you don't have to expect a biography/analysis about
Monroe, or you will feel disappointed, like it happened to me.
Even though Monroe was one of the most famous people from 20th century, her private life preserves an aura of mystery which still makes it fascinating to the new generations. That's why I think it was strange to make a film about a kinda trivial moment in the actress' life. Monroe had a very difficult childhood, a meteoric rise to fame, and legendary personal relationships with figures from the sport, the literature and the politics...and they decided to make a film about her experiences shooting a rural comedy in England? However, I found My Week with Marilyn moderately entertaining, mainly because of the extraordinary performances.
Michelle Williams makes a magnificent work as Monroe, because she doesn't make an imitation of her; instead of that, she completely becomes her character. Kenneth Branagh brings a perfect balance of arrogance and professionalism as Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), while Judi Dench brings a lot of enthusiasm and conviction to her short role. As for Eddie Redmayne, he brings an adequate performance, but he feels darkened by Williams, Branagh and Dench.
Nevertheless, My Week with Marilyn didn't leave me very satisfied, because of its weak direction and structural problems in the screenplay which make the film occasionally disjointed and not very credible. However, I can give it a slight recommendation mainly because the performances were enough to keep me moderately entertained.
Oh what an annoying movie. Are we supposed to believe that a 23
year-old guy with stars in his eyes gets his first job at "Laurence
Olivier Productions"; then, mostly through good looks and
determination, worms his way up to "third assistant director",
whereupon, he charms his way into the professional life of Marilyn
Monroe? That's the dubious premise of this film.
"My Week With Marilyn" portrays Monroe as a basket case on set. Our 23-year old Romeo-wannabe naturally consoles her, and the two, as in a fairy-tale, celebrate a wonderful few days together. It's all just a bit too questionable.
Further, the film veritably oozes oily adulation for Marilyn Monroe. One character even falls at Monroe's feet, literally; and proclaims Marilyn the greatest actress to ever live. Our 23-year old protagonist is hardly any saner, as he follows her around like a puppy dog. Mercifully, not everyone is so star-struck, and the point clearly is made that Marilyn can't act. But oh how her entourage nurtures her ego.
Production values are acceptable, and editing is quite good. Michelle Williams does the best she can as Marilyn, but lacks Monroe's electrifying sexual allure. Eddie Redmayne as the 23-year old kid, Colin Clark, smirks too much; and when he's not speaking he needs to learn to keep his mouth closed. The best performance is by Judi Dench who plays Dame Sybil, but it's a small role.
The script, supposedly based on Colin Clark's memoirs, reeks of self-serving exaggeration of a true event. You get the feeling that the plot contains some over-extended wishful thinking. A little bit of truth here, quite a bit of fiction there; but it's all well intentioned, for viewer fun and corporate profit. There are a lot of gullible viewers around who are certainly taken in by this film. But I don't buy the story as anything other than exploitation.
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