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This enjoyable film was based on the true story of Colin Clark, who at the time, was third assistant director to Laurence Olivier on the film The Price and the Showgirl, which starred Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. The story follows Colin (played by Eddie Redmayne)as he assists Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) with the difficult star, Marilyn (Michelle Williams).
Marilyn is surrounded by her team of sycophants but is filled with self-doubts (as well as booze and pills), worried that she isn't good enough as an actress and stumbling over her lines. Newly married to playwright Arthur Miller, she is insecure with dramatic mood swings. Olivier is captivated by Marilyn initially but frustrated by the fact that she cannot remember her lines, making him angry and Marilyn more upset. Marilyn feels better when Colin is with her and he, in turn, starts to fall for her charm and vulnerability.
The film is quite simple in its execution: just taking a small period in time and dropping us right in - no setting of the background, just a short spoken introduction by Colin. Marilyn and Olivier need no introduction, of course.
The film is based on Clark's memoirs and was adapted by Adrian Hodges. Director is Simon Curtis, who I was not familiar with, but thought did a very good job. The main leads did a sterling job in their parts, ably supported by the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Zoe Wanamaker, Toby Jones and Dominic Cooper.
With a running time of little over an hour and a half, this was a very watchable and engaging film. It is not fast-paced or action-packed and at times is a tiny bit slow, but I really enjoyed the story and was intrigued how this small part of Marilyn's life would close.
There is no doubt in my mind that Princess Diana quite fancied herself as the new Marilyn Monroe. She was one of those beautiful women that expected fame, admiration and wealth as reward for their genes. I think that's what women and gay men really admired about Diana as they wailed at her funeral. Princess Diana didn't die at the hands of the press. She died doing the thing she loved - being pursued by the press. If she had an unfavorable photo in the tabloids she would ring up the editor to arrange a photo opportunity to correct that 'indiscretion'. I suspect if you are a female you would much prefer to be beautiful than brainy. Marilyn Monroe understood that beauty, and not brains, gets you everything.What the sex kitten look didn't get Marilyn was an Oscar, ironic as Michelle Williams, who is superb here as Monroe, was nominated for an Oscar playing her, Kenneth Branagh also earning the attention of The Academy as Sir Laurence Olivier. But it would be just one Golden Globe for Williams from the haul of nominations the pair received. The real Marilyn, was, however, nominated for a BAFTA for her role in the film the Prince and the Show Girl, the movie production this film explores.
The screenplay centers on a book written by Colin Clark, who was the young third assistant director on The Prince and the Show Girl back in the day. Rather poetically ?My Week with Marilyn' was shot on the same Elstree sound stage set of the 1957 original and the son of the chief grip on that film was the chief grip on this film. Lets hear it for the grip, whatever the hell that is.Graduate and aspiring filmmaker Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) travels to London to get a job on Laurence Olivier's (Kenneth Branagh) next movie. Producer Hugh Perceval (Michael Kitchen) tells the polite young man there are no positions available, but Clark deciding to wait for Olivier, all the same, whom he once met at a party at Cambridge. Olivier and his wife, Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormond), eventually show up and Colin cheekily blags a job on his upcoming film ?The Prince and the Showgirl', starring Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams).As third Assistant Director, Colin's first task is to find a suitable place for Marilyn and her husband ,play write Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), to stay while they are in England. But the press finds out the location. Quick thinking Colin reveals he secured a second house just in case, impressing Olivier and Marilyn's publicist, Arthur Jacobs (Toby Jones). Marilyn also brings her business partner, Milton H Greene (Dominic Cooper),and her acting coach (Zoe Wanamaker).Olivier quickly becomes exasperated with Marilyn when filming starts, Marilyn insisting her acting coach sit in on filming.The crew and the other actors, including Sybil Thorndike (Judi Dench), are in awe of Marilyn and help her deal with her issues and so more than tolerant. Meanwhile Colin meets Lucy (Emma Watson), a wardrobe assistant, and they go on a date.The pill popping, spirit drinking Marilyn starts arriving late on set and often forgetting her lines, angering the cantankerous Olivier even more. Marilyn simply can't get to grips with herself, or her character, in the film. Colin, smitten with the sex kitten, asks the director to be more sympathetic towards Marilyn. At the house he overhears an argument and finds a tearful Marilyn sitting on the stairs with Arthur's notebook, which contains the plot of a new play that appears to poke fun at her, Arthur returning to the States in a huff. Marilyn decides she is too emotional to return to the set and confides in Colin at Parkside as they talk and talk. Milton pulls the likable Colin aside to tell him Marilyn breaks hearts and that she will break his too, Colin pushing Lucy aside to get to know Marilyn some more as her new confident. I must admit that anything remotely period with clipped Oxbridge accents tends to put me off renting and so I did wait for this one to come on normal television to watch it. As both leads were Oscar nominated it would be rude not to take a look, and I'm glad I did as it's a lovely little inoffensive and sweet film. The acting is superb and Kenny Branagh superb as the pompous Olivier and Williams amazing as Marilyn. You can not tell the difference other than Michelle is a skinny bird to the voluptuous curves of Monroe. Not surprisingly Scarlett Johansson was director Simon Curtiss first choice. Eddie Redmayne centers the movie for the big names to act around him and also turns in a creditable performance. If he had played it arrogantly I don't think the film would have worked. The scripting is ok with some critics saying it is as shallow as the women herself and certainly a slightly hammy Downtown Abbey rhythm to this as its moves nicely through its 99 minutes. At least the film makes you want to care for it with its soft touches.There are some nice scenes in the film and interesting to explore what it would be like if Marilyn Monroe did indeed wonder around the English countryside in her diamonds and the contrast and reaction it would strike, as it did when she and Colin visit a country pub and an idyllic English village. There was no other actress back then that generated the reaction and love she did.It did $33 million back from its $8 budget and about the norm for an acting based movie. In less robots launched on all out attack on the film set it was never set to make a bomb for such good performances. I would say its only fault would be how real the true story is as its every young mans fantasy for a Hollywood starlet to fall for them. Saying that I enjoyed it enough and if you are over 30 and want something light and romantic and this pops up on telly then give it ago, a surprisingly likeable film.
I hadn't really seen this film advertised much which is strange for a film, just recently I had seen the trailer and thought it was a brand new film. I love anything about Marilyn so needed to watch this film. Luckily a friend from work had this on DVD to borrow me. I was super exited to watch this film.
About the film:
My Week with Marilyn is a 2011 British drama film directed by Simon Curtis and written by Adrian Hodges. It stars Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond, Emma Watson and Judi Dench. Based on two books by Colin Clark, it depicts the making of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl, which starred Marilyn Monroe (Williams) and Laurence Olivier (Branagh). The film focuses on the week in which Monroe spent time being escorted around London by Clark (Redmayne), after her husband, Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), had left the country.
Principal photography began on 4 October 2010 at Pinewood Studios. Filming took place at Saltwood Castle, White Waltham Airfield and on locations in and around London. Curtis also used the same studio in which Monroe shot The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956. My Week with Marilyn had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on 9 October 2011 and was shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival two days later. The film was released on 23 November 2011 in the United States and 25 November in the United Kingdom. For her portrayal of Monroe, Williams was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture. She also earned Best Actress nominations from the Academy Awards and British Academy Film Awards.
A film I totally enjoyed - it didnt seem to go on forever which was a great thing. The film was set out great and gives a good in sight on what Marilyn was like and what she was like to work with. A great story line and Im sure many people have been in Colins position to see how easy it is to fall in love with someone then having to let them go due to other cirumstances. If you havent already watched this film I would recomend that you do. I grabbed a copy of this from Ebay for £2.20 including posatge so worth the money.
I didn't really have any preconceptions before watching this film about what to expect. I hadn't heard much about the film, but towards the end of my media degree, my tutor mentioned this was being produced and was highly anticipated amongst film buffs, it was either going to be sink or swim, and he told us to keep an eye out for it upon its general release. The films cinema release somehow managed to pass me by pretty much un noticed but when it appeared on Sky Premier a week or two back, I settled down for an afternoon with Marilyn (and a rather large pile of ironing).
Surprisingly to me, Marilyn isn't actually the lead character, yes she gets a lot of screen time, but the main character is Colin Clark. Perhaps had I taken a little more notice of the title, I may have been able to work this one out for myself, but this was another thing that passed me by. Colin Clark is actually a real filmmaker and this is his story of, you've guessed it, his week with Marilyn. Clark released two diary accounts of his time on set with Marilyn during production of The Prince and the Showgirl, and Director Simon Curtis originally tried to get this made into a film in 2004 but interestingly he couldn't drum up enough interest, as Marilyn was considered too iconic and too familiar for the film to work. I disagree, as obviously the Producer eventually did, as although I am aware of the iconic status of Monroe, and have seen endless photos and one or two documentaries here and there, I have never actually seen a film about her. I'm sure they exist, however being only 29, I don't think anything has been documented so recently that I would be familiar with.
The films main storyline is simple, it follows Colin and his bid to work in the film industry, despite his wealthy family believing it is a phase he is going through. At first he struggles to find anyone willing to employ him as he has practically no experience, but in the end his commitment to the industry shines through and he is given a job as 3rd Director (or gofer) by Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). He soon finds himself on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, and is given seemingly menial jobs such as finding Monroe and her husband, Arthur Miller a suitable home to stay in during production. He soon finds himself in the company of Monroe, and we see just how innocent and delicate this iconic woman really was. I don't really know where to begin in explaining Williams and her portrayal of Monroe, but I will start out by saying it is Oscar worthy. Her portrayal is outstanding and I completely forgot that I was watching the actress who started out in Dawson's Creek. Her portrayal of Monroe is brilliant, she manages to capture the innocence of Monroe who relies whole heartedly on the people around her, and who falls so easily at the smallest hurdle. I didn't realise Monroe had this side to her and it was quite devastating to watch, despite it not actually being her. It's easy for me (with limited knowledge of Monroe) to see through Williams' portrayal, why Monroe met her fate in the way she did.
Williams is able to switch from the innocent, very delicate and shy individual she obviously was, to the sexy, confident woman that her fans and the world believed she was. One of my favourite parts of the film see's her go from being a quiet woman in the company of Clark, but when she sees her fans she turns to Clark and say's 'Shall I be her now?', turning round and pouting, blowing kisses and generally becoming the sexy Marilyn she was known for. Williams manages both personas to a tea and oozes sex appeal when it is needed. She gets the sultry voice easily (although I am sure this was with much practice and help from a vocal coach and hundreds of hours of watching Marilyn on tape). Even the way she moves seems to be in line with the 'real' Monroe and one scene at the very end where she does this sexy little dance was perfection and I'm such took Williams lots of practice.
I was quite surprised to see Emma Watson in this film, as the alternative love interest for Clark. For me, this let the film down. I'm not the greatest fan of Watson, however I don't dislike her, but she came across as too young for this part and I just didn't believe for a second that Clark would be interested in her. Dominic Cooper also has a nice, if not small, part in the film, as Marilyn's business partner. He was great in this, but after seeing him in Devils Double (also worthy of an Oscar in my opinion) I'm a fan of his at the moment anyway. Zoe Wanamaker also appears as Marilyn's acting coach who she absolutely relies upon for nearly every line (much to Laurence Olivier's distaste). The smallest part going to a well known actress is probably the part played by Judi Dench (Sybil Thorndike) who sits firmly on Marilyn's side as Olivier becomes increasingly frustrated by Monroe's inability to arrive on time to the set, or act a scene without messing up.
The film follows the increasing tensions between Monroe and Olivier as Olivier accuses her of holding up production and even questions her ability to act. Clark is left to pick up the pieces and support Marilyn in whatever way she requires. Sometimes it means just having someone else's company, other times it means going for a drive in the country. There is insunuations that this was Marilyn acting at her best, making others do anything she desires by pretending to be damaged goods. I would have liked to have seen this taken a little further in the storyline, but this isn't a major problem as the storyline was intriguing enough.
I would have liked the film to have been a little longer if I'm honest, but I think that is more out of fastination of Monroe and an eagerness to learn more about this iconic woman. I would definitely welcome any further productions with Williams portraying her, however I'm not sure there is any scope left following this particular storyline. Perhaps just another bio on a different aspect of her life would be interesting.
It had been reported that Scarlett Johnannson had been the original Monroe, however for me this just wouldn't have worked, so it's a good job that Curtis responded to these claims that it was only ever going to be Williams for him. He knew what he wanted and he knew it would work. Perhaps it was Williams' personal life that helped her to portray this troubled icon, after she lost the father to her daughter Matilda, Heath Ledger in 2008.
Unfortunately Colin Clark didn't live to see this wonderful masterpiece of his week with Marilyn.
I bought this film because for a new release it was pretty cheap in Asda and having missed it in the cinema I was keen to watch it. I'm not especially interested in Marilyn Monroe though from what I do know she was a fascinating and complex individual.
The film was released in 2011 and quickly received critical acclaim. Michelle Williams, for her performance as Marilyn, won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award. The high accolades the film has received, and Michelle Williams in particular, meant I had high hopes for the film. It is based upon two books by Colin Clark which tell the true story of his week with Marilyn Monroe. He worked as an assistant for a film company who happened to be producing 'The Prince and the Showgirl' in 1957. The film, starring Marilyn and Laurence Olivier, was shot in England and though she was originally accompanied by her then husband, Arthur Miller, he soon left to return to America. During the time that he was away Colin and Marilyn became very close and for a time brief time she depended on him to rebuff her insecurities.
The film follows this storyline to the letter. Colin (Eddie Redmayne) is an aspiring film maker and landing a role as glorified gopher on a film set it put to work getting the stars, crew and production company anything they need. Marilyn is constantly with a large entourage, including Zoe Wanamaker as acting coach Paula Strasberg and Dominic Cooper as her business partner Milton H. Greene. Marilyn is insecure and demanding, insisting that Paula must assist her on set and this demanding behaviour creates a real presence on set. Judi Dench plays her co-star Sybil Thorndike who is more sympathetic towards Marilyn than the frustrated Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Brannagh).
Colin is in awe of Marilyn from the beginning and though he is dating Lucy (Emma Watson) his attraction to Marilyn is clear for all to see. When Marilyn comes across what she interprets to be deprecating notes about her in Arthur Miller's (Dougray Scott) notebook they have a huge fight and Miller leaves the following day. Marilyn is left alone and though being constantly medicated by her assistants she is clearly lonely and struggling with life in England. The reassurance than Colin offers her is invaluable to Marilyn and they spend a few days of intimacy in each others company. Colin relishes this time but when Marilyn claims to have had a miscarriage she cuts of all contact with him and tells him she will not see him again. Colin is clearly heartbroken and confused by Marilyn's rebuffs. Upon finishing the film Marilyn comes to see Colin and kisses him goodbye before she leaves for America. The time they spent together was brief but for Colin it clearly marks a turning point in his romantic life.
The cast in this film are simply incredible. Michelle Williams truly embodies the spirit of Marilyn, her fragility and sensitivity is elegantly portrayed whilst her wit and skill as an actress contrasts beautifully. There are also outstanding performances from from other cast members that help create a tangible sense of the 50s film industry and Marilyn's life in particular. The only character I really disliked was Emma Watson's portrayal of Lucy. I actually really dislike her anyway as she always comes across as self-important and smarmy in interviews so I was probably destined to dislike her and her character. That said, there doesn't seem much depth to her performance and compared to the brilliant performances from established actors she sinks into the background.
The film is only 99 minutes long which makes it short and sweet in my opinion. There is just enough of a storyline to keep you entranced, and Marilyn helps to hold the viewers attention perfectly. I thought the true life story was dealt with sensitively and reverently, with a great deal of respect for the characters involved.
I paid £7.00 for this film from Asda which is fairly cheap for what is quite a recent film. I really loved the sense of time and place in the film, it is very atmospheric and truly represents the period in which it is set. The feel also beautifully captures the complexity of life in the spotlight for such a loved and revered film star. Her personality is multi-faceted and constantly evolving throughout the film. You never truly know how she feels about Colin and in this way the film perfectly encapsulates the essence of the story in real life, which is ambiguous and open to interpretation.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would recommend it to you. I had high expectations based on the critical acclaim but I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I did, for that it gets five stars.
Back in 1987, I discovered Marilyn Monroe. It was the 25th anniversary of her death and the television showed a documentary on her narrated by Catherine Deneuve, followed by a showing of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I was enthralled! What a beautiful woman Marilyn was and how talented an actress. I began buying books about her and trying to watch all her films...
In 2011, the film My Week With Marilyn was released in UK cinemas. I was too pregnant to sit comfortably in the cinema, so had to miss it, but I pre-ordered the DVD and watched it as soon as I had the time. The film is based on the book of the same name by Colin Clark, who worked on the 1956 film The Prince and The Showgirl in England with Marilyn. I have read this book and do question the truth of some of it, so I was slightly worried the film would become rather sleazy and portray Marilyn as some kind of sex-mad loose woman. Thankfully I was pleased with how it was handled.
Colin Clark is 23 years old and working on his first film. As the third director's assistant, he basically gets to be a gopher, at the beck and call of Laurence Olivier, who is directing the film as well as co-starring in it. There is tension between Olivier and Marilyn, as he doesn't agree with the Method style of acting that Marilyn favours and he finds the presence of her coach Paula Strasberg on set as highly irritating. As he becomes more impatient and annoyed, his disapproval and criticism makes Marilyn more nervous and soon she is fluffing her lines, turning up late or refusing to come on set at all. Her new husband Arthur Miller returns home to the USA and as her mental health declines, Colin strikes up a friendship with the film star - but will it help her finish the film?
As a big Marilyn fan and someone who knows lots of details about her life and career, I was expecting to find lots of errors in the film and to be quite critical of it. However, although there were a few parts that were dubious (the opening and closing song-and-dance numbers, for example), they did not detract from my enjoyment and overall, I found the film very accurate, especially in how Marilyn was portrayed. They didn't play up the stereotypical "dumb blonde" image, instead concentrating on a realistic view of her, including using some direct quotes from her and having the book she was actually reading at the time placed on her bedside table (James Joyce's Ulysses). This was refreshing to see and helped my enjoyment of the film.
The way she behaved during the filming of The Prince and The Showgirl was also dealt with sympathetically. You can see how eager she is to be liked and how important it is for her to be seen as a talented actress, rather than just sexy. She is trying to be a good and devoted wife to Arthur and feels distraught at how she feels he betrays her. The scenes where Marilyn is on her bed and emotional are beautifully filmed and very moving.
Michelle Williams plays Marilyn in the film and does a superb job, the vulnerability pouring out of her characterisation so no-one could fail to be sympathetic towards her. The wardrobe, hair and make-up have all done an excellent job too, so Michelle looks enough like Marilyn to believe in her. The clothes are perfect throughout and I was also impressed with the scenes that were shot on the set of The Prince and The Showgirl, as I have seen the film several times and the recreation of the scenes were very accurate.
Kenneth Branagh is excellent as Sir Laurence Olivier too, especially reproducing the awful Germanic accent in his role in The Prince and The Showgirl (which is the worst aspect of the 1956 movie!). Olivier was quite brutal towards Marilyn and Branagh portrays this accurately, swearing at her and losing patience quite rapidly. Julia Ormond (who I loved in the film Captives some years ago with Tim Roth) played his wife Vivien Leigh and again recreated it well. I have seen plenty of photos of the press conference that was given by Olivier, Leigh, Monroe and Miller and these scenes were accurate visually and including many of the actual things that were said at the time.
While Eddie Redmayne ostensibly has the starring part as Colin Clark, he is more forgettable in some ways, being not as well-known a character and also being rather a 'grey man'. Colin is young, naive and walks around in a kind of wide-eyed innocence, as you might expect from a 23 year old who gets to hang out with international film stars! He is sweet and nice, but not particularly interesting. Although it is his story, I felt it was much more about Marilyn - and rightly so.
The cast features many names and faces that British audiences will be familiar with, including Zoe Wanamaker who is a wonderful Paula Strasberg and Emma Watson who plays a wardrobe mistress in an uncharacteristically small role for her. Sir Derek Jacobi has what can be described as a cameo, but Dame Judi Dench is brilliant as Dame Sybil Thorndike - what inspired casting! As Laurence Olivier's treatment of Marilyn becomes worse, Sybil steps in to appease the situation, saying just the right thing and calming the cast and crew.
The film is beautifully shot and a pleasure to watch. I was surprised it is rated a 15 as I felt it was more like a 12, but there is some nudity (viewed from the back) and a few 'f' words which is probably the reason. It lasts 95 minutes and the DVD includes an audio commentary with the director Simon Curtis and a documentary called The Untold Story of An American Icon. It is currently available from Amazon UK for £7.99 and you can also buy the book by Colin Clark (who died in 2002) for £5.95.
I have always been sceptical about the validity of Colin Clark's story. It is a fact he did work on the film with Marilyn, but whether they became friends or had any kind of liaison is up for debate. In the two books he wrote about this, there is just one photo of him with Marilyn and it is a group shot of the cast and crew. There are no photos of the two of them together otherwise, no-one has publically corroborated his story and I have never seen an interview with him explaining himself in more detail. This is interesting to note, but it doesn't detract from the film version. My Week With Marilyn is a wonderful film, whether you are a Marilyn fan or not.
Film Only Review:
My mum is a huge fan of Marilyn Monroe and had read the book of the same name which this movie is based on (by author Colin Clark) and so she was eager to see this film. I was impressed that the movie had been so critically acclaimed with lead actress Michelle Williams nominated for an Acadamy Award for her role. With this in mind my mum and I sat down to watch the movie together.
This film is a 2011 release and stars Michelle Williams as actress Marilyn Monroe. The movie is based on author Colin Clark's account of Marilyn's time spent in the UK filming 'The Prince and The Showgirl'. Colin is played by Eddie Redmayne and he is a dedicated 'gopher' on the movie set who falls under Marilyn's spell. A host of other well known actors feature in this movie including Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, Dougray Scott as playwright Arthur Miller as well as Judi Dench, Harry Potter's Emma Watson, Derick Jacobi and Zoe Wanamaker.
As far as the casting goes it was interesting to see as many familiar faces and especially because all of these actors are at the top of their professsion. Branagh's performance was particularly good and Eddie Redmayne impressed as Colin with a youthful enthusiasm that was endearing. Where I was a little less impressed was unfortunately with Michelle Williams playing Marilyn. Let me be straight here - Williams doesn't do a Meryl Streep and try and impersonate Marilyn down to the very last fine detail but I wonder if I'd be more impressed by her if she had done. Whilst Williams captures Marilyn's flaws excellently I didn't find she was able to capture the sexiness, sparkle or ethereal magic that made Marilyn who she was. To me this is an essential quality any actress playing Marilyn needs since it's the biggest reason why anyone loves Marilyn. Perhaps I'm being a little too picky since there has only ever been one Marilyn Monroe but the way that Williams plays Marilyn means I went away thinking what a diffficult, crazy woman this actress must have been and almost forgot about her ability to spellbind me in her movies. One particular issue I had regarding this is when footage is shown of Williams as Marilyn acting in 'The Prince and The Showgirl' and all of the other characters are fawning over how great it is and 'oohing' and 'awwwing' but to me what they are watching is rather forced and sexless. I mean I've seen the real movie starring Marilyn and the way she plays even the simplest of scenes is fascinating and spellbinding. The recreation of these scenes in 'My Week With Marilyn' is unimpressive.
The details of Marilyn's on set erratic behaviour, her ill-fated marriage to Arthur Miller and her attempts to become a mother are probably well known to many people as they were to me. I therefore wasn't surprised by any of the revelations about Marilyn's life as depicted here. I did come away from the movie though with a less than respectful feeling towards the actress, despite always having admired her work beforehand. This is partly due to the fact that Colin's 'week with Marilyn' is a kind of trainwreck of an experience. As I said, Williams is wonderful at playing a Marilyn who is damaged and vulnerable it's this aspect of her performance which is most memorable despite some finely tuned song and dance numbers which supposedly show how awesome and capable a star Marilyn really is.
The rest of the cast are impressive although again some of the meaning and impact of the story are lost by details such as casting a rather plain looking Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh. I am unfamiliar with Eddie Redmayne but he is a very interesting and competent lead.
The story is quite fascinating too with events beginning when the rich and priviledged Colin wants to work in the movies. I thought it was a good idea though that the notion of the influence of money and social status is played down in favour of establishing a more down to earth young grafter in the lead role. We then see what problems Marilyn caused on set and the impact of her strained relationship with Olivier. Colin's more intimate relationship with Marilyn is also recounted but I felt that the magic Colin must have felt regarding this rendezvous is overshadowed by the dark side of Marilyn being exposed. To me Marilyn comes across as a character who is perhaps more cruel than she is helpless.
Whilst the movie held my attention until the end I did feel slightly underwhelmed by it all. Some of the best moments of the film involve Kenneth Branagh's Olivier and his inability to control his temper and frustration towards Marilyn. My mum commented that she thinks Naomi Watt's might have played the part a little better and to be honest I agree with that. A little more sex appeal and allure is what is needed and whilst Michelle Williams gives a dedicated and professional performance she simply doesn't capture the shining movie star side of Marilyn.
Marilyn Monroe is without a doubt one of the most celebrated, well-known figures of the 20th Century. Her platinum blonde hair, her sultry looks that ooze sex appeal, her breathy voice, her moves, her lifestyle, her love affairs, her films, her mysterious death have all combined to produce more than just an actress, more than a mere sex symbol, but a true American icon. An icon whose work is watched and admired even to this day, inspiring countless number of women to achieve similar greatness and fame. With this kind of baggage, it's no easy job to portray someone this famous on screen. "My Week with Marilyn," as its title may suggest, only explores a brief section of the star's life, but since she has accomplished so much, even the smallest slice in her showbiz-surrounded life is full of fun, romance and charm which is exactly what the film offers.
"The Prince and the Showgirl," shot in England, (in)famously united Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), a very talented actor who wanted to become a film star. Monroe, on the other hand, was hoping for the opposite. She already was the movie star, what she wanted then was to convince everyone that she was a serious actress. "The Prince and the Showgirl" was supposed to be a film to benefit both stars; however, this was not to be. The production was plagued with delays, miscommunication and discontent from Olivier, as he was far from impressed with Monroe's notoriously erratic behaviour on set that included tardiness, alcoholism and drug use. Whilst "My Week with Marilyn" does focus on the filming of their movie, caught in the middle of this drama is in fact Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), the third assistant director, whose job is to do all the grunt work around the film set. Captivated by Monroe even before her arrival in London, Clark's boyish enthusiasm and warm personality bring the two close together. Trapped in a less than satisfactory marriage to Arthuer Miller (Dougray Scott), Monroe finds comfort and solace in Clark's arms.
Being the most famous woman on Earth is no easy job, perhaps a task that is simply too overwhelming for a small-town girl who wanted to become a movie star. Success brings her money, luxury, fame and infinite love from crowds of random people, but for a price. Constantly harassed by photographers and journalists who want a snippet on every single aspect of her life, she finds her life too crowded and stressful. The pressure she faces in Pinewood Studios also starts to build up. Despite her method acting coach Paula Strasberg's (Zoe Wanamaker) never-ending confidence-boosting words, Marilyn finds her confidence shaken every time she stumbles on a line, further infuriating the already heated Olivier. Dame Sybil Thorndike (Judi Dench), is more forgiving and understanding, and as a woman of principle and disciplined manner, she exudes warmth as well as firm maternal presence to anyone who unreasonably crosses the line.
Getting close to Monroe is bound to catch the attention of everyone on the film set, and it's a relationship that cannot have a happy ending. Milton Greene (Dominic Cooper), Marilyn's business partner, warns Clark to not get involved. "She breaks hearts, she will break yours too," he warns. But what they share has very little to do with sex or lust. It's a strong friendship built on absolute trust, with the occasional moments of passion that build up from spending so much time together. Although there is unavoidable tragedy lurking around the corner, director Simon Curtis makes sure the atmosphere is always light enough and the breezy script supports this. There are comic moments, many in fact, despite the more serious subject matter that underlies the humour. As the infatuated Colin, Redmayne is a wholly likable central character, with his wide-eyed, somewhat childish fascination towards everything that is going on around him. He is a tall, handsome actor with immense appeal, with enough cheek and confidence that convincingly adds to his initially clueless character.
Without the outstanding, Oscar-calibrated performances, this would not have been a film worth watching. There are no words to describe just how superb Williams is in the role of Monroe. She has the looks (despite having a noticeably slimmer figure than the voluptuous figure the legendary Monroe possessed), the voice, the swagger, and the sassiness, but there is something so much more to her portrayal than what is visible on the surface. The behind-the-scenes Marilyn, the insecure, vulnerable and troubled superstar longing to be taken seriously, to be loved, and not quite ready to cope with all the uncomfortable sides the glitzy Hollywood life brings with it, Williams makes sure that Monroe is a human being after all, and that she is someone worth caring about. All of her insecurities, which is why she so heavily relies on pills and alcohol, are evident in Williams' masterful portrayal. But she's not all about the depressed, troubled Marilyn, as when her character gets her vibrant energy, she is delightful, glamorous, and eye-catching.
As for the invaluable supporting players, Cooper's slightly wonky American accent aside, everyone stands strong in their roles, with two of the greatest English actors working today, Branagh and Dench, living up to their usual high standards. Wanamaker, as Marilyn's ambitious acting coach who wants what is best for her most talent student, is stubborn and relentless, as she constantly clashes with Olivier regarding Marilyn's acting style. She believes in method acting, he does not. Emma Watson, in her first post-Potter role, has an interesting, but underused role of Colin's could-be girlfriend, and the two share a warm enough chemistry to show the audience a glimpse of possibility that Colin may be better off settling down for someone more to his standard. Although looking nothing like the wife of Laurence Olivier, Julia Ormond does an admirable job as Vivien Leigh, in a crucial scene that she hints at her jealousy towards the much younger, sought-after Marilyn.
It's a light, breezy and pretty trek that gives us plenty of insight into the complicated life of Marilyn Monroe. We will never know the full extent of just how damaged and frightened she was of failing those around her, and just how lonely and isolated she must have felt. The film tries to show as many variations as possible, which can lead to quite a few repetitions. Marilyn feels down, she calls for Colin's help, he comes, calms her down, and she feels better. It's a routine that is both predictable and slightly tiresome after a while, but it's a film to watch simply for the numerous performances. Nominations should be flooding in towards the end of this year for Williams, and rightly so.
"My Week with Marilyn" is a 2011 british Biographical movie directed by Simon Curtis and starring Michelle Williams, Dougray Scott, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench and Emma Watson and is based on the books by Colin Clark about his real life experiences with Marilyn back in the 1950's.
Recently graduated from University Colin Clark ( Eddie Redmayne ) is an aspiring film-maker from a very well off family, however he is determined to make it in the business on his own and travels to london to petition to get a job on Lawrence Olivier's ( Kenneth Branagh ) next movie project.
Eventually successful, Colin is given a job on Olivier's next project, entitled The Prince and the Showgirl, starring Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams), Colin is first tasked with finding a suitable place for Marilyn and her husband, playwright Arthur Miller ( Dougray Scott ), at the same time Colin begins courting the affections of wardrobe assistant Lucy ( Emma Watson ) and they eventually begin dating.
Soon enough Colin is given more tasks, and very soon finds himself getting closer and closer to Marilyn until they are spending quite some time together, after Marilyn's husband returns to America after an argument between them, however this relationship places a strain on Colin's relationship with Lucy and also with his colleagues on the film set, who are already dealing with an emotional wreck in Marilyn who is pushing them all to their limits, particularly Lawrence Olivier.
I wasn't sure what to expect from "My Week with Marilyn" the subject matter wasn't particularly interesting to me, however I had heard good things about the movie itself and in particular the performance of Williams as Marilyn Monroe.
And boy was I not disappointed, "My Week with Marilyn" takes a seemingly unimportant week in the lives of a group of actors and film crewmembers and turns it into an enthralling story, most of which has to come down to the talents of the cast, particularly Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh and of course Michelle Williams
Williams is incredible as Marilyn, she has her mannerisms and vocal style down to a tee and her singing voice is extremely impressive and i'm not sure if it was electronically altered for the sake of the movie, or if it is all down to Miss Williams pure talent, but it definitely leaves an impression on the viewer.
The whole thing is a joy to watch, the period sets are great, the costume department do a wonderful job transporting the viewer back to 1957 and the musical score is just right to catapult you back in time.
The script is of course wonderful and being adapted from books written by the main subject of the movie himself ( Clark ) you know that accuracy is of a very high standard in the movie, and you can pretty much ascertain that the majority of what you see in the movie actually happened, i'm hard to impress with period pieces such as this but I was sucked in from beginning to end, which is a big testament to the movie.
I can't really find fault in this movie, wonderful acting, wonderful direction and a story that doesn't run longer than it should ( comes in at 101 minutes ), the only negative is that the crime is that Michelle Williams didn't win the Oscar for best actress at this years academy awards !!!