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.