Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Week with Marilyn (2011) [R] ****

It's the summer of 1956, and Marilyn Monroe (played by Michelle Williams) is the most famous, the most widely-recognized celebrity on the planet. Three weeks earlier she had married celebrated playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), and now the pair are arriving in London to film a light romantic comedy The Prince and the Showgirl , directed by and co-starring the world-renowned stage actor Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). Coincidentally, 23-year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) passes up the chance to work for his wealthy father and, instead, embarks on a film industry career. He lands a job in Olivier's production company as third assistant director which simply means he's a go-fer, and one of his first tasks is to find a country home for Marilyn and her husband to live in.

Filming has barely begun when Olivier's vocal frustrations with Marilyn's ineptness as an actress, her inability to work within the shooting schedule, and her many outrageous demands, threaten to derail the production. And when she discovers that Arthur is having second thoughts about their marriage, and departs for New York to spend time with his children, a lonely and frustrated Marilyn lures starry-eyed young Colin into her inner world, revealing to him her personal demons – her lack of self-esteem, her self-doubts about her beauty and talent, her bipolar personality and her various drug and alcohol addictions. Based on Colin Clark's memoir published in 1995, and Adrian Hodges' screenplay, the film is a tour-de-force. Michelle Williams, in an incredible performance, perfectly channels Marilyn's magnetism as well as her childlike innocence and vulnerability. Both Williams and Branagh were nominated for Oscars for their performances. If you're a fan of 1950s and 1960s films, biographies about film industry personalities, or just curious about Marilyn Monroe, then you'll definitely enjoy My Week with Marilyn. 

The supporting cast includes Julia Ormond (as Vivien Leigh), and Judi Dench (as Dame Sybil Thorndike).

Labels: biography, drama, Fifties, filmmaking    

Internet Movie Database  
Metacritic 65/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=71, viewers=72)    

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