Written by / 12/19/2011 / No comments / , , ,

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

title: MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
year: 2011
cast: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh
rating: ***

At this point, Marilyn Monroe is known for just about everything except movies. Her image alone represents beauty as something eternal; since she died young, perfection is all we’re left with. So here’s a film about Monroe the actress, chosen by British icon Laurence Olivier to co-star in his 1957 comedy THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. The first half has Monroe faltering and floundering, unable to get any line right – and by the end she’s stealing the picture, supposedly causing Olivier to return to the stage… But where’s the arc? Well it’s that middle ground the film (based on a memoir) is named after – the week long friendship between Marilyn and Colin Clark, played with noble naiveté by Eddie Redmayne, who, from a rich family and interested in show business, lands a job as third assistant director. Through his awestruck eyes we see Marilyn, not only as a timid starlet overmatched against the British dynamo, but a sweet natured, pill-popping victim of circumstance. The relationship between Marilyn and Clark lacks depth, and seems more of a fantastical valentine to a beautiful mirage than a genuine relationship, or a substantial film bio, which, if more attention was given to Kenneth Branagh as the frustrated Olivier trying to harness Monroe into his kind of performer, this would be more of. But Michelle Williams’s portrayal of the vulnerable bombshell makes everything work despite the fact that, being no match to the real Norma Jean esthetically, her performance becomes more than a lookalike/imitation: she really gets inside and pulls something out.
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