FILM: My Week With Marilyn (15)

Published date: 30 November 2011 |
Published by: David Waddington
Read more articles by David Waddington


CINEMA’S most enigmatic blonde bombshell is the study of this week’s biopic My Week With Marilyn.
When young Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) relentlessly persues a job at Sir Laurence Olivier’s production company, he finds himself third director (aka runner) on The Prince And The Showgirl starring none other than Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) - the most famous star in the world.
Directed by and staring Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), the newly married Marilyn’s unorthadox ‘method’ techniques and tardiness cause friction on set and upset for the American actress.
But after finding friendship in Colin, she finds comfort in strange old England.
Between the desire to escape fame and the need to embrace it, can there really be a future in their short tryst?

British biopic
British based biopics have been award attracting offerings in recent years, and My Week With Marilyn is set to be no different.
Brimming with enough transatlantic appeal to make it attractive to audiences on both sides of the pond thanks to the quaint Brit setting twinned with an American element (The King's Speech meets Four Weddings And A Funeral); Oscar will surely come calling.
The tight snapshot of circumstances over a film shoot rather than a broad, sweeping life-story condensed into a two hour runtime is where My Week With Marilyn shines.
Rather than a highlights showcase, Clark’s memoirs have space to gently tease out all the traits and characteristics associated with Norma Jeane: the devotion and love from those who meet her; the famously difficult shoots; the cocktail of drugs, and her self-destructive addiction to the fame machine behind her closet misery.

Stunning performances

Bringing her eerily to life is Michelle Williams, who totters into the protagonist’s  shoes admirably.
From the musical intro and Marilyn ‘persona’ to the damaged life behind the tinted glasses, she exudes witty starlet and fragile creature in equal measure.
Leading the account is Redmayne, whose fresh-faced Clark suits perfectly, while a who’s-who of British talents ranging from rising stars like Harry Potter’s  Emma Watson and Dominic Cooper to stalwarts like Toby Jones and Judi Dench are given enough screen-time to thrust the narrative along while never outstaying their welcome.
But it is Branagh who deserves praise as Olivier - uncannily embodying the famous thesp while throwing out the film’s most delicious lines.
Simon Curtis’ hefty TV CV demonstrates his confidence in dealing with a top notch cast, and while the lack of visual aesthetic lends itself perfectly to the period setting, he relies on the watertight script to keep pace taut.
Sure to attract Academy nods for the principal players, My Week With Marilyn combines romance, comedy and drama to offer a glimpse into the life of a sizzling screen siren.

8/10 - Magnificent Monroe movie.

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