Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Week with Marilyn

"My Week With Marilyn" is based on two books by Colin Clark taken from his diaries about his experiences during the filming of "The Prince and the Showgirl" (1957), which starred Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). The film focuses on the week in which Marilyn Monroe spent time being escorted around Britain by Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), after her husband, Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), left the country.

"The Prince and the Showgirl" was considered a moment in movie history where American acting royalty, Marilyn Monroe, met British acting royalty, Laurence Olivier. However, at a deeper level it was a moment where a great actor that wanted to be a film star was confronted with a film start that wanted to be a great actor. The film shows how Marilyn Monroe was desperate to escape from the pressures of her own stardom and the competing personalities and career guided agendas of those surrounding Marilyn Monroe.

Michelle Williams completely inhabited the emotions of Marilyn in all of her complexity: her vulnerability, her guile, her sweetness, and her insecurity. Her ability to display the emotions of a character was every bit as impressive as she was in "Blue Valentine" (2010). It is unfair to say that Michelle Williams didn't physically deliver the role, but by comparison she was outshined in the film by Kenneth Branagh who perfectly delivers his performance and very much looked like Laurence Olivier. Having recently re-watched "The Prince and the Showgirl", he also does a terrific job with the Grandduke Charles character. Eddie Redmayne was wonderful as Colin, the narrator and main character of the story, but is easily forgetable by being surrounded by such talent. Judi Dench was her wonderful and of all her performances that I have seen this year (Jane Eyre and J. Edgar), this could be her best. In one of the first performances for Emma Watson since "Harry Potter" she was regrettably forgettable. Not to be forgotten however is Dominic Cooper, who provides another solid performance following "The Devils Double".

The film reminds us that first love at times comes with sweet despair and that sometimes a heart needs to be broken before someone can open themselves up for the right person. Director Simon Curtis has been working on this film since the death of Collin Clark in 2002 and did a wonderful job capturing the essence of 1950's England. The wardrobe department deserves a nomination, as do the writers. I could see Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench all receiving nominations. I am a bit apprehensive on my rating, but it is still a 5 quack film.

In a way this film runs parrelel to J. Edgar as the initial production of "The Prince and the Showgirl" was delayed due to Arthur Miller being investigated as a communist after "The Crucible" opened on Broadway in 1953.

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