Title: My Week With Marilyn
Directed by Simon Curtis
Starring: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Dougray Scott, Emma Watson and Judy Dench
Running time: 99 minutes, Rated R, Available on DVD
In the summer of 1956 and fresh from Oxford, 23 year old Colin Clark (Redmayne) is determined to make it on his own without the help of his overachieving family. He manages to get a job under family friend Sir Laurence Olivier (Branagh) as a 3rd assistant director (basically a gopher) on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl.” Marilyn Monroe (Williams) travels to England with her new husband, playwright Arthur Miller (Scott) to star alongside Olivier. Colin is infatuated with Marilyn, but is trying to not-so-successfuly court the wardrobe girl Lucy (Watson). When Arthur Miller goes back to the states for work, Marilyn’s behavior becomes more erratic, causing delays in the film. Olivier asks Colin to keep an eye on Marilyn, who soon latches onto him to quench her loneliness until filming has completed.
Michelle Williams performance as Marilyn Monroe is eerily dead-on. I could not picture anyone else filling that role and have it turn out half as good. There have been several biopics about Marilyn Monroe, and none captured the believability that she was a drug addict and mentally unstable. Sure we’d all like to believe she was the goddess as she appeared on screen, but her off-screen persona was just another character she was playing. Eddie Redmayne was ideal casting as the lovestruck Colin. Kenneth Branagh has been compared to Laurence Olivier over the years, and his portrayal was excellent, yet a bit sparse. Judy Dench can make a tiny character much bigger (as she did when she won the Oscar for her 8 minute role as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love), and I just adored her portrayal of the warm-hearted thespian Dame Sybil Thorndike.
The special features include director commentary by Simon Curtis, and featurette, “The Untold Story of an American Icon.”
I’m not a big fan of biopics, but I found My Week With Marilyn to particularly interesting. It didn’t drag, which is a major plus and the acting was superb. I do however have a feeling that Colin Clark held back when writing his diaries, because certain parts seemed too innocent; or maybe I just wanted the story to be more lurid.
Total Rating: A
Reviewed by: JM Willis