My Week with Marilyn

My Week with Marilyn

Director: Simon Curtis

Writers: Adrian Hodges, Colin Clark

Cast: Michelle Williams, Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, Pip Torrens, Geraldine Somerville, Michael Kitchen, Miranda Raison, Karl Moffatt, Simon Russell Beale, Toby Jones, Robert Portal, Jim Carter, Philip Jackson

Synopsis: 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.

MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language and brief nudity

Marilyn Monroe: I wanna be loved by you

A film about a young man meeting the woman that everyone used to yearn for back in Hollywood's earlier years

Back in the golden years of Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe was once deemed a goddess in American pop culture. Whether you loved her or not, Marilyn was certainly one of Hollywood's biggest stars for her insatiable sex appeal. However, was that all there was to her though? Sure, she was deemed a goddess in cinema, and a relevant sex symbol throughout her career, but could there be something more to Marilyn that most people tend to over look?

Granted, she does have a very pretty face, and a gorgeous figure, but there has to be more to her than being a figurative goddess that men yearned for back in those days? Well, one of the beauties about this film is that it not only shows us the glamor of what it's like to spend time with Marilyn Monroe, but it also shows us that behind that pretty face lies a soul that fears rejection. A poor girl that fears that unless she's constantly living in the limelight of the public, then nobody will ever truly love her. And most of all, we see through the story unfold through of the young man that falls hopelessly in love with her.

Based on a real life story. The movie starts off by following an aspiring film student by the name of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), who dreams of becoming a filmmaker someday. However, his parents constantly tell him that it's nothing more than a pipe dream, while the nearby movie studio (incidentally owned by Sir Laurence Olivier) constantly turns him down for a job. However, he refuses to give up, and shows up each day in hopes they'll change their minds. In fact, he even does various odd jobs like filling in for Sir Laurence Olivier's secretary, and acts as a gopher by getting coffee and such for studio executives. And, the funniest part of all this is that he doesn't even get paid to do either of these things, as he merely wants to get his foot in the door for show business. Now, if that doesn't tell us about the dedication of this young man, then I honestly don't know what does.

To make a long story short, Colin is eventually hired as the third assistant director for Sir Laurence Olivier's latest movie, "The Prince and the Showgirl"; starring himself and infamously known actress, Marilyn Monroe. At first, it seems Colin is living his dream. Not only is he getting the opportunity to work with two of Hollywood's biggest stars, but he also learns first hand what it's like to be involved in the movie industry. Indeed, it truly goes to show that if you want something bad enough, and willing to work for it, then you can definitely achieve your dreams.

However, the story doesn't end there. Unfortunately, Marilyn has trouble adjusting to many of Olivier's obssessive demands, which causes a lot of conflicts between them. Needless to say, Marilyn is portrayed as being highly insecure, in this movie, to the point that even the slightest bit of resentment towards her makes her sad. And, it definitely doesn't help either to have an uber strict Olivier constantly picking on her either. Of course, things get even more interesting when Marilyn's husband has to go away to spend time with his kids; which leaves Marilyn all alone in London, while shooting the movie. Needless to say, she becomes quite lonely, and soon finds herself strangely drawn to Colin. As the film progresses, the two of them spend a great deal of time together, as Colin not only sees Marilyn for the sexual icon that she is, but he even sees a side of her that most people don't see of the legendary actress.

A side of her that not only feels utterly alone in the world because of her past, but how she fears that no one will ever love the woman behind icon. Sure, she's been married a few times before, but as she's quick to point out, they always leave her, which makes her wonder...can anyone truly love the real Marilyn Monroe? Or is the sex symbol the only thing worth loving about her? She wants to live a normal life, and be loved like any other girl, but she fears rejection; hence the dilemma. If she leaves show business, then who will still love her? After all, every man she's been married to before has left her, so if her marriage doesn't work out, and she's no longer acting, then what will she have left? And if she's still acting, how can she ever be sure that anyone truly loves her, and not the image of her portrayed by the media.

Indeed, these are only some of the many questions this film touches upon about Marilyn Monroe that work perfectly within the film's favor. I especially liked how film would start off with references to classic Marilyn Monroe moments like the steamy bathtub scene, where she sticks out her foot playfully, as if to recapture that classic image many movie goers remember about her. However, as we watch the film play out, we soon find that behind the image, there's an insecure young girl that yearns to be a great actress, but fears that nobody will ever see her as anything more than sex symbol. Like many of us, she has doubts and fears that make her a highly sympathetic character.

Not only did the film capture the iconic essence of Marilyn Monroe, but it also showed us a personal side to her as well. A side of her that showed behind the icon lurks a frightened young girl who craves the attention of society because she's scared that no one will ever love her for herself.

Indeed, it's a very sad story, but at the same time, you have to give Michelle Williams a lot of credit for pulling off this role as well as she did. Sure, I'll be the first to admit that she was a great actress in "Blue Valentine" and "Shutter Island", but I did have a few reservations about her playing Marilyn Monroe in this movie. Not that I ever doubted her acting abilities, but Marilyn Monroe was such an iconic figure in Hollywood that it's hard to imagine anyone else pulling it off without looking like some cheap imitation. However, Michelle seems to pull off the part with ease, as she literally becomes Marilyn Monroe in this film to where it's almost scary.

As for Kenneth Branagh, I found his performance as Sir Laurence Olivier to be quite tasteful. Sure, throughout most of the film, he does treat Marilyn rather harshly. However, there are some tender moments that we actually do see more into his character. A side of his character that reveals him wanting to feel young again, and how feels that by working with Marilyn Monroe, he'll feel young again. Heck, I even found Emma Watson to be quite endearing in her role as well. Sure, she doesn't have a huge part in the movie, but she still manages to give a great performance in spite of limited screen time.

Unfortunately, that's not to say this film doesn't have it's own share of flaws. For starters, the main character of this movie isn't that interesting. Sure, it's interesting that he's used as sort of a third person perspective to give the audience insight on who Marilyn Monroe is behind the iconic figure, but the character himself isn't really engaging on his own. Although, one would probably think otherwise given the circumstances of this movie, but he's portrayed as such a generic way that it makes it hard to relate to Colin on a personal level. Fortunately, the blandness of Colin doesn't ruin the movie, but it does tend to take away from it.

Overall, I would have to say "My Week with Marilyn" is one of the best films of 2011. Not only did it capture the essence of one of Hollywood's first sex icons, but it also gave us an engagingly deep look into the pysche of the woman behind the iconic figure. Truly a must see movie at a rating of three out of four.

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Comments 16 comments

Retro1920 4 years ago

I am sorry to say that I don't believe anything that man told in his opportunistic books...

In all MM biographies, his name is never mentioned, so, it is indeed very easy to write a book about somebody who is dead and can not have the means to reply, right?

I am going to write one tomorrow to tell about MY WEEK WITH ELIZABETH TAYLOR.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Um..okay. Well, I can't comment on whether or not Colin Clark met really her, as I can only go off of what the movie suggests.

For what the film was, I thought it was a great movie that not only delved into the icon of who Marilyn was as a sex symbol, but it also showed a more human side of her as well which is what I liked about this film.

As for Colin's character, I thought he came off as too much of an uninteresting company suck up figure that really wasn't that interesting. Although I do like how we see Marilyn through a 3rd person perspective in this film, but the main character himself (Colin) just wasn't that interesting.

Anyway, thanks for sharing that piece of info with us, and good luck with your novel. lol.


mega1 profile image

mega1 4 years ago

Hi Steve - I want to see this movie but for some reason I've not done so - whether because I get emotional about Marilyn and what "they" did to her, or whether its because there were several other good movies competing for my time - perhaps I'll wait til its on dvd. But Marilyn - she was an awesome spirit - some people who we are fortunate to get to glimpse in the movies have the ability to bring us so close to their soul - and she did that. With those people, we just can't seem to get enough, even when they are gone - maybe especially when we know they're gone and we'll never see them again except in the movies. Good review, Steve, as always.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

I haven't seen the movie yet. As a lifelong Marilyn fan, I have to say that I don't think Michelle Williams makes a good Marilyn from what I've seen so far. She looks much more like Diana Dors or Jayne Mansfield (50s Marilyn knock-offs) than she does Marilyn. As far as the story goes, I read the book long ago, and it was discredited at that time.

Marilyn appealed to both men and women, not just because of her sex appeal, but because of the tremendous intelligence and sensitivity that lay behind it. Women were not jealous of her. They wanted to be like her. When she died, many women expressed great sorrow and said that if they had known Marilyn was in trouble they would have done anything in their power to help her.

I think the best movie about Marilyn I have ever seen is "Norma Jean & Marilyn" (1996) with Ashleigh Judd as Norma Jean and Mira Sorvino as a very convincing Marilyn. This movie explores the psychological aspects of doing away with the original self (Norma Jean) to create Marilyn. Both actresses do a marvelous job. I highly recommend this movie.


tschaunerb profile image

tschaunerb 4 years ago from Medicine Hat

gonna see this movie this week, I am pretty excited.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi Steven; I liked this movie and I also gave it a positive review. Michelle Williams gives a great performance and I think she's the front runner for the best actress oscar this year. The lead actor was very bland and forgettable but who cares when you have Williams giving such a good performance and Kenneth Branagh in a supporting role. This might get a nod for Best Picture when the nominations come out but I really don't think it'll win the big prize.

Nicely done review,

Rob


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Thanks Mega. I'm glad you liked the review. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but it's definitely worth seeing if your a fan of hers. I think the thing that amazes me most about it is that it starts off with the cliched media imagery that Marilyn would often be portrayed as before delving into who she is as a person; which is something I found kind of interesting about this film.

It's a real shame she's gone now, as I would've liked to heard what she might've thought about this film, but i guess we'll never know. Anyway, thanks for stopping by to read my review. By the way, I like your new pic mega. Is that supposed to a picture of you real self? If so, then I have to say it's a very good one, as you look very nice. :)

Anyway, you take care okay.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Well everyone has their own opinions, and you're right that Michelle Williams doesn't look completely like Marily Monroe, but I thought she played the part rather well in the movie to where her portrayal of her was spot on. But then again, that's only my opinion on the matter.

As far as saying women were jealous of her, I only said "some" women were jealous of her, and not "all" women. However, I get what you're trying to say, but in the film, Colin was dating a costume mistress during the production of "The Prince and the Showgirl." And when Colin started spending more time with Marilyn, he dumped the other girl aside like a bad shoe. I think we can both agree that she might've been jealous of Marilyn Monroe over that incident, as the girl did like Colin a lot.

As for Marilyn being known for her sex appeal, I know she's known for other things, but I was mainly making a reference to the fact that whenever mainstream media brings her up, that's always seems to be the first thing they talk about her. Therefore, I felt a bit obligated to mention that in my review. No disrespect to Marilyn, as I think she was a helluva a lot more smarter and sensible than people give her credit for, as she definitely seemed like a nice person. Heck, out of all the actresses that ever graced the big screen, I would've liked to have met her myself. Not because of the iconic figure, but because I would've liked to have known the person behind the icon herself if you know what I mean.

As for the "Norma Jean & Marilyn" movie, I heard about it, but I've never seen it, so I can't really make a comment on it. However, I'll defintely be sure to check it out someday, since you highly suggested it. I appreciate the recommendation.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by to read my review, and for sharing some of your thoughts with us. :)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

That's cool. I hope you like the film, and thanks for stopping by. :)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@Robwrite

Yeah, I don't think this film will win best picture either, but I also agree with you that Michelle Williams seems to be the front runner for best actress this year, and rightfully so. I think it should be interesting to see how it plays out. I might decide to review "The Prince and the Showgirl" because of this movie now, since it takes place during it's production. lol.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and I liked your review a lot as well. I remember reading yours a while back, but I might've forgotten to leave a comment in it. If I did, I do apologize, and I'll leave you one.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

Hi Steve - This:

"Heck, out of all the actresses that ever graced the big screen, I would've liked to have met her myself. Not because of the iconic figure, but because I would've liked to have known the person behind the icon herself if you know what I mean."

hits the nail on the head as to how people (men and women) generally felt about Marilyn in her day. Her look was a "formula". She said so herself. Any woman (including Michelle Williams) could do the blond hair, red lipstick, spike heels and wardrobe to get the "Marilyn look", and generally speaking, women wanted to be like her.

People wanted to know her for the very reasons you state. Her public persona was obviously a mask, and people wanted to get to know the real person. Of course, an individual woman vying with Marilyn for the attentions of the same man would be jealous, just as she would of any other woman, but overall, in her day, people felt protective of her and interested in her.

In my mind, there is a black & white video of her covered corpse being wheeled from her home. It is stored next to my mental video of the Kennedy assassination. I remember feeling very sad when I learned of Marilyn's death, even though I was just a little girl at the time. People - men and women both - were very sad about her death. She was cherished.


JBunce 4 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Very encouraging to see such positive comments. It hits the local second run theatres tomorrow, and I'll be seeing it then. Nice to know I apparently have something to look forward to.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@jbunce

That's cool. Well, I'll definitely be on the lookout for your review of this movie then. Hopefully, you'll like it as much as i did. If not, then more so. anyway, you take care, and thanks for stopping by. :)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@justmesuzanne

Well, you certainly know your history when it comes to Marilyn Monroe, as there's no disputing that. Well after hearing you're arguments, you've convinced me to edit this review to where i took out the part that said, "Most men wanted her, while some women were jealous of her."

I think it's rather sad that she's no longer with us, but there's no disputing that there will probably never be another marilyn monroe. as for the kennedy assassination, I have my own set of theories on that, but I can't prove them though. However, that was another tragic loss as well. Anyway, I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts and knowledge with us, as I always enjoy getting feedback on these reviews; especially the ones that are like yours. :)


carolinemd21 profile image

carolinemd21 4 years ago from Close to Heaven

Hi Steven great review. I saw the movie and loved it. A lot of people said Michelle Williams doesn't compare to the real Marilyn and whatever, but I think she did a great job. I loved the atmosphere of the movie as well. I ended up watching The Prince and the Showgirl after and it was wonderful. Marilyn was a great icon with a natural beauty that shined through anything she did.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Thanks. I'm glad you liked the review. Yeah, I feel the same way about Michelle Williams in this role, as I think she definitely deserves the Oscar for how well she was able to pull off the iconic actress. To be honest, I haven't seen "The Prince and the Showgirl" yet, but i want to though. I was probably going to review it sometime after I publish my Oscar predictions. Anyway, I'm glad you also liked both movies, and thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us. :)

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