Monday, November 28, 2011


As the title indicates, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is not a traditional biopic documenting the starlet’s entire life, and instead focuses on a nearly obscure timeframe in movie history. Still, the film manages to capture its main character, Marilyn Monroe completely; all thanks to sharp writing and a stunning performance by Michelle Williams that is guaranteed to take your breath away.

Marilyn Monroe (Williams) is off to London to film THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, which is being directed by Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), who is married to Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormond). Monroe struggles through the pressure of acting, and copes by leaning on countless of amounts of pills and booze; behavior that threatens to derail the entire production. Monroe finds solace and inspiration in the form of Colin (Eddie Redmayne); a young man who is on his very first job in the movie business.

MARILYN, for as much as it focuses on Monroe, is really a story about two lost souls coming together and finding meaning. Colin is a big-studio virgin; wide-eyed and innocent. Marilyn is the bigger-than-life movie and entertainment star; who wants only to be a regular girl and be a good wife to her husband, but must put on the act of Marilyn Monroe when the cameras are rolling. It is a fascinating watch to see Colin and Marilyn charm the hell out of each other before reality comes back to nail them both. Both characters are fleshed out perfectly, and the audience can’t help but to feel for, and love them both.

Marilyn Monroe absolutely rises from the dead in Michelle Williams’s outstanding performance. The mannerisms, facial expressions and body language are magic to see; it is as if the blonde beauty fell out of the screen and into our laps. She completely sells the character; she is the girl that we all want to hold tightly, even though we know she will eventually fly away.

Director Simon Curtis also gets excellent performances out of Redmayne, who never fails to convince us of the puppy-love innocence. Also astoundingly perfect is Branagh as Sir Laurence, who nails the screen legend’s vocal tone and even looks like the man. Curtis assembles a near-ensemble cast including Judi Dench, Toby Jones, Zoe Wanamaker, Dominic Cooper and Emma Watson…and gets sparkling performances out of them all. Curtis also succeeds in bringing the whimsy of 1950’s movie-making to life, packing things with a brisk magic that will have the audience smiling and laughing from beginning to end.

Despite the bitter sweetness of the ending, MARILYN manages to become one of the most feel-good movies of the year. It is funny and moody, entertaining and sad, and it is incredibly fitting that the most charming woman who ever lived is the subject of the most charming movie of 2011. If you don’t fall in love with Michelle Williams, you most certainly fall in love with Marilyn.


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