Movie Review: “My Week with Marilyn”

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 12:00 am.

(Photo: The Weinstein Company)

Summary: A true story based on a book by Colin Clark, who documented his time with Marilyn Monroe while filming the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl.

Review: There are some heavy Oscar contenders this year for best actress. Michelle Williams will certainly be neck and neck with Viola Davis (The Help) and Meryl Strep (The Iron Lady) for her widely praised performance as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. An unlikely pick for Monroe, Williams slips herself into the skin of the iconic sexpot for a film that is a compelling take on the blond bombshell.

Williams gave as good of a performance as possible, but Norma Jean has been done so many times on screen. No matter how hard she or the director, Simon Curtis, delved, there was no way one could find something new about Joe DiMaggio’s ex-wife. Marilyn, who allegedly died of a drug overdose at the age of 36 in 1962, had a drug problem, married three times by 30 and was no great actress, but she was known for her beauty. Every movement of Williams plays into the legendary image of Monroe; she gave viewers the Marilyn that we know and love—therefore, there were no surprises.

What makes the film is a strong set of characters who were either angered or sympathetic by Monroe’s lack of acting chops and drama-filled personal life. Kenneth Branagh played Sir Laurence Oliver, the director of the film The Prince and the Showgirl. His wild annoyance with Monroe was comical and memorable. Judi Dench as her sensitive co-star, Dame Sybil Thorndike, was solid in a role that clearly wasn’t even slightly challenging for her. Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark was the standout, who aced the starstruck look in his eyes that said, “This is Marilyn Monroe!”

Who knows how many more Marilyn Monroe films Hollywood will make. My Week is one of the best, but outside of the “Marilyn genre,” this is not one that will be nearly as timeless as the icon herself.

My Week With Marilyn is currently in theaters.

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