Thursday, December 29, 2011

review - My Week with Marilyn

It is difficult to believe that this is Simon Curtis' first directorial film assignment, as My Week with Marilyn is an amazingly lovely movie. Michelle Williams' performance, needless to say, is delectable. No over-the-top mannerisms or false moves: it's about as natural as one might see. She transforms into Marilyn effortlessly, or so it seems. I also enjoyed the work of Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark, documentary film maker, who worked as third AD on The Prince and the Showgirl (1956) and whose diaries supplied the basis for the story, screenplay by Adrian Hodges. Monroe loved Clark's youthful attraction to her and used it to her advantage. It freed her from the insecurities that were bogging her down and preventing her from giving the ultimate performance in The Prince and the Showgirl. She needed to relax and be supported in the positive way that Clark provided. Although their little 'affair' cooled down, she ended up giving a great performance, topping that of Sir Laurence Olivier, who so wanted to become a big box office star. Ironic, that both actors deeply wanted what they didn't have: Monroe to be considered a great actress and Olivier, the actor of all time, a big movie star.
Also wonderful in the film are Kenneth Branagh as Olivier, Dame Judi Dench, always a standout even in the smallest of roles as Dame Sybil Thorndike, Julia Ormond a charmer as Vivien Leigh, Emily Watson grownup and beautiful as Colin's girlfriend Lucy and Zoe Wanamaker so good as the clutching Paula Strasberg, who was like Marilyn's third arm.
This is a  loving portrait of the iconic star, who despite her well-known insecurities, was sweet and caring, adored by millions. Cinematography is gorgeous; the story attractive and playful, and Williams' work sublime, capturing in detail Monroe's genuine nature on and off screen.
5 stars
eddie redmayne and emily watson