Friday, March 23, 2012

My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Directed by: Simon Curtis
Starring: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Dougray Scott

My Week With Marilyn is based on the true story written by Colin Clark in 1956. Twenty four years old athe time, Clark was working as "gopher" and director's assistant for Sir Laurence Olivier.  He kept journal on the accounts of his time spent working with Marilyn Monroe on the set of the film, The Prince and the Showgirl (1957.)

The narrative of the film, as told by Clark (Eddie Redmayne), shows how everyone working (most of all, Olivier) on the film is excited to have an international star coming to England to work with them. What ensues, however, is a battle of wills between Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Olivier (Kenneth Branagh.)  Laurence Olivier, who was considered British Royalty, and one of the finest actors in the world, despises the fact that Monroe can not act; but cannot help that he is also enamored by her beauty and Charisma.  What must be noted is that Monroe, who studied method acting under Lee and Paula Strasberg, was not much of an actress...she was a "film star."  After Monroe's husband, playwright Aurthur Miller (Dougray Scott) leaves the set of the production to return home, she seeks the companionship of the naive Colin Clark. Clark is infatuated with Monroe, and obviously in love with her; however, the insecure Monroe views Clark more as a much needed ally, than a lover.  After artistic differences between Monroe and the staff of the film come to a boiling point, the production of the The Prince and the Showgirl is brought to a halt. Monroe and Clark spend a week together in seclusion during the time off from the film. While it is led to believe that Monroe and Clark had a love affair, it is not really shown in the plot, nor is it really a necessary part of the narrative. What is shown and more important to the storyline is the close companionship that is developed between Clark and Monroe.

The casting ensemble brings many well known British and American actors together in this film.  Kenneth Branagh's role of Laurence Olivier is a relatively small part of the film, but he covers the part well; Ironically, he has often been referred to as "the Laurence Olivier of his time." The relatively unknown Eddie Redmayne does a good job of portraying the shy, innocent nature of Colin Clark. Although Colin Clark is the protagonist of the story, the character is strongly overshadowed by eccentricities of Monroe's character. It can be said that Michelle Williams really does not have "the look" of Marilyn Monroe. While Williams doesn't match Monroe's voluptuous figure, she makes up for it in every other way. From her pouty lips, soft voice, and "wiggle walk," Williams does an excellent job of portraying the seductive demeanor of Marilyn Monroe that makes you look past any flaws in the actual "looks" of her character.

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