My Week with Marilyn
2 1/2 Stars
A half-century after her death, she and her legend continue to haunt us. And that, combined with the pleasure of watching a skilled actress portray her on the big screen, makes My Week with Marilyn fascinating despite its limitations.
Marilyn Monroe and Michelle Williams make quite a team.
In My Week with Marilyn, Williams plays superstar and sex-goddess icon Monroe on the summer-of-1956 London set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the light comedy in which she co-starred with her director, superstar and Shakespearean acting icon Laurence Olivier, played by Kenneth Branagh.
Monroe is also on her honeymoon at the time with her new husband, playwright Arthur Miller, played by Dougray Scott. When he comes back to the U.S., she starts spending her time with infatuated third assistant director Colin Clark, a glorified gopher and our narrator, played by Eddie Redmayne.
As the production proceeds, Monroe's undisciplined approach to screen acting -- her chronic lateness, her extreme mood swings, her dependence on an acting coach, her inability or refusal to memorize lines -- keeps slowing things down and exasperating Olivier close to his breaking point.
Debuting British director Simon Curtis, a veteran of the BBC, works from Adrian Hodges' adapted screenplay based on two memoirs by Colin Clark, The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn. The movie doesn't exactly dig beneath the surface, but it does manage to recapture the surface of an era in moviemaking that's long gone.
Curtis's large and experienced supporting cast also includes Judi Dench, Dominic Cooper, Zoe Wanamaker, Julia Ormond, Derek Jacobi, Emma Watson, Toby Jones, and Michael Kitchen, and serves him well despite a script that doesn't give them much to work with.
But it's Williams whose spectacular work makes this otherwise pedestrian drama a must-see attraction: her Marilyn Monroe is the kind of acting that feels more like channeling. She captures Monroe's wiggling walk and breathy vocal style, as well as her neediness, insecurity, fragility, and frustration, and also her charm and talent and radiance. She even sings and dances in the Monrovian manner -- and she's absolutely on the money.
Moreover, she demonstrates the way in which Monroe's off-screen personality was as much a character being played as was the persona she gave us on-screen. And yet, as precise and uncanny as it seems, it's not really an impersonation. It's her spirit and her essence that Williams delivers.
Perhaps most importantly, she dares you to take your eyes off her. And you can't. Nothing was more true of Monroe and the "flesh impact" that director Billy Wilder claimed she had in a way no one else did.
Branagh brings the expected technical polish to his Olivier portrayal, but it never quite takes off, making it sometimes seem that he and his Olivier are simply conceding the film to Williams and her Monroe. Not that that's such a bad idea.
Don't be surprised if Williams' tour de force performance brings her a third Oscar nomination, to go along with the nods she received for Brokeback Mountain and Blue Valentine
Like many of Ms. Monroe's movies, the backstage dramedy My Week with Marilyn is worth seeing precisely and exclusively because of her.
"My Week with Marilyn" Movie Trailer
more MOVIE REVIEWS ...
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
In this frisky reboot, Gary (Jason Segel), his Muppet brother, Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), and Gary's girl, Mary (Amy Adams), journey to Los Angeles to tour the forgotten Muppet Studios facility. While there, they learn of the evil millionaire (Chris Cooper) and his plan to raze the studio for the oil underneath
Kermit may be green with envy, Fozzie may find it hard to bear, and Miss Piggy may still be waiting for the oink to dry on her contract, but the missing Muppets haven't missed a beat. Those little assisted-acting thespians are back. Yep, they're a throwback: puppets on the big screen whose line readings are, well, deeply felt
The latest Santa (voiced by Jim Broadbent) nears retirement and is due to hand over the reins to one of his sons, possibly Steve (Hugh Laurie). But the younger son, Arthur (James McAvoy), and his Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) rush out to save the day by delivering a bicycle to the lone forgotten little girl
Martin Scorsese's rich venture into 3-D follows Hugo (Asa Butterfield), an orphan who lives in the walls of a Paris railway station in the early 1930s. With a knack for clockwork and a longing for family, Hugo spends his days evading the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) and engaging with the pioneering filmmaker Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley) and his goddaughter
A young orphan named Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield, lives in the walls of a train station in Paris in 1931, stealing food and scurrying around throughout the station, trying to survive by staying one step ahead of the relentless station inspector played by Sacha Baron Cohen, in early-silent-comedy mode. And Hugo is aided by the inspector's distracting crush on a florist played by Emily Mortimer
My Week with Marilyn
My Week with Marilyn
Based on the true story, this film follows the icon Monroe (Michelle Williams) on location for a little-known movie that she made with director and star Laurence Olivier (Kennth Branagh) in England. An aspiring filmmaker and Olivier assistant, Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) becomes Monroe's guide, confidant, sounding board and almost-lover
My Week with Marilyn
Michelle Williams plays superstar and sex-goddess icon Monroe on the summer-of-1956 London set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the light comedy in which she co-starred with her director, superstar and Shakespearean acting icon Laurence Olivier, played by Kenneth Branagh
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (Bill Wine)
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (Michael Phillips)
- Happy Feet Two (Bill Wine)
- Happy Feet Two (Michael Phillips)
- The Descendants (Bill Wine)
- The Descendants (Michael Phillips)
- Immortals (Bill Wine)
- Jack and Jill (Bill Wine)
- J. Edgar (Bill Wine)
- J. Edgar (Michael Phillips)
- Melancholia (Michael Phillips)
- Tower Heist (Michael Phillips)
- Tower Heist (Bill Wine)
- A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (Bill Wine)
- A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (Michael Phillips)
- Like Crazy (Michael Phillips)
- The Skin I Live In (Bill Wine)
- The Rum Diary (Bill Wine)
- The Rum Diary (Michael Phillips)
- In Time (Bill Wine)
- In Time (Michael Phillips)
- Puss in Boots (Bill Wine)
- Puss in Boots (Roger Moore)
- Martha Marcy May Marlene (Michael Phillips)
- Margin Call
- The Three Musketeers
- Paranormal Activity 3
- The Skin I Live In
- Johnny English Reborn
- The Mighty Macs
- The Big Year (Michael Phillips)
- The Big Year (Bill Wine)
- Footloose (Michael Phillips)
- Footloose (Bill Wine)
- The Thing (Michael Phillips)
- Blackthorn (Betsy Sharkey)
- Trespass (Bill Wine)
- The Way (Bill Wine)
- The Ides of March (Michael Phillips)
- The Ides of March (Bill Wine)
- Real Steel (Michael Phillips)
- Real Steel (Bill Wine)
- Puncture (Robert Abele)
- What's Your Number? (Michael Phillips)
- 50/50 (Michael Phillips)
- What's Your Number? (Bill Wine)
- 50/50 (Bill Wine)
- Machine Gun Preacher (Michael Phillips)
- Machine Gun Preacher (Bill Wine)
- Moneyball (Michael Phillips)
- Moneyball (Bill Wine)
- Abduction (Roger Moore)
- Dolphin Tale (Michael Phillips)
- Dolphin Tale (Bill Wine)
- Love Crime (Michael Phillips)
- Killer Elite (Bill Wine)
- Drive (MP)
- Drive (BW)
- Mysteries of Lisbon
- Straw Dogs (RM)
- Straw Dogs (BW)
- Contagion (MP)
- Contagion (BW)
- Warrior (MP)
- Warrior (BW)
- Circumstance (MP)
- Apollo 18 (BW)
- The Debt (MP)
- The Debt (BW)
- Higher Ground (MP)
- A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy (MP)
- A Good Old-Fashioned Orgy (BW)
- 5 Days of War
- Seven Days in Utopia (RM)
- Seven Days in Utopia (BW)
Copyright © 2011 AHN - All Rights Reserved