Friday, November 25, 2011

My Week with Marilyn

"Biopics" are generally hit or miss movies. If the actor has done a good job studying the mannerisms and history of the actor they are portraying, then the film is successful. If they have not, or play the part too differently (especially if it is a person in recent history, that some may remember), the film is generally less successful. As Marilyn Monroe, Michelle Williams captivates the audience from the minute she opens her mouth during the film's opening scene, and My Week with Marilyn is a great movie because of her, as well as her supporting actors.

The film is from the point of view of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne, The Other Boleyn Girl), a 23-year-old who has just secured himself a position as 3rd assistant on a Laurence Olivier film. He has heard a lot about Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine), as she is the lead actress in the movie, and when she finally arrives in England, he gets to meet her. She is much more fragile than he would have thought, however, and she lacks confidence, much unlike the "public" face of Marilyn Monroe that graces the front of all the magazines and newspapers of the time. Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh, Valkyrie), as the director and main actor of the film, has a hard time with Marilyn, as she frequently shows up late for rehearsal, and constantly requires the presence of her "method" acting coach, Paula (Zoƫ Wanamaker, TV's My Family) on set. Colin and Marilyn soon forge a close bond, as he is the only person who "tells her the truth," as she says; Olivier and the rest of the cast aren't very happy about this, since she is married, to Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott, Love's Kitchen), and they find the friendship highly inappropriate.

Michelle Williams was fantastic as Marilyn, but so was the rest of the supporting cast, which is comprised of many A-listers. Emma Watson (who will forever be Hermione from Harry Potter in my mind) plays Lucy, a girl who works in the costume room and goes on a few dates with Colin; Judi Dench (J. Edgar) is one of the cast members in the movie they are shooting; and Dominic Cooper (The Devil's Double) is another of Sir Olivier's assistants. At the beginning of the film, Colin (Eddie Redmayne) is enamored with Marilyn Monroe, as we see him watching one of her films; and by the end of the movie, even though he now knows the "real" Marilyn, he is just as enamored, which speaks volumes about the woman she was and the performances she could deliver on-screen as an actress, even though she was highly depressed.

Yes, see this film. Williams will no doubt be getting an Oscar nomination for her role, and I wouldn't be surprised if the movie does as well. Two of my favorite lines of the movie include her talking to Colin, and they sum up the film quite well; in one scene, she laments "They all expect me to be Marilyn Monroe" (as in, the larger than life movie star). In another, they are visiting a palace, and the staff are crowded around to get a glimpse of her. She says to Colin: "Shall I be her?" and then strides down the stairs and poses for the staff there. I am interested in learning more about Marilyn Monroe after seeing this film, and a good biopic will make the audience want to do just that.

My Week With Marilyn is in theaters today, November 25th, and is rated R with a runtime of approximately 100 minutes.

2 comments:

  1. I really want to see this movie! Marilyn Monroe's life has always fascinated me! :)

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  2. It was a really good movie - I highly recommend it. In my Examiner article I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. :)

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