REVIEW: My Week With Marilyn

Having the ability to tackle a biographical film about a Hollywood icon is usually a very difficult task as a particular series of events that occur in one’s life is required for it to work as a solid story in a motion picture. When it comes to a film about somebody like Marilyn Monroe, you really need a strong casting for that person and it needs to be executed solidly that is both a film alone but also brings forth a tribute towards the real-life people the actors are portraying. Monroe’s shocking and unexpected death in 1962 would have perhaps been the biggest key idea for a film, but we are taken somewhere a bit different with My Week With Marilyn as it shows us one of her projects and close relationships and about her overwhelming popularity as an actress and sex symbol in the 1950s.

My Week With Marilyn provides almost exact similar concepts to what Academy Award winning historical drama The King’s Speech provided in 2010. Mutually they are balanced evenly between a typical historical costume drama and just simply a biographical film. Most people refer to historical dramas as films that are about kings, queens, dukes, duchesses etc, but being a film about Hollywood stars and a small love story, My Week With Marilyn provides colour and beauty which is essential for a film like this. Plus, it proves that both biographical and historical films usually work best when the budget isn’t massively high, and although £6.4 million isn’t all that much for a film of this modern era, thankfully the glistening backgrounds and corny acting doesn’t take over My Week With Marilyn like we have seen in the past.

Simon Curtis is another addition to the list of directors that have converted from a few years of television and then going straight into the world of cinema. Due to his lack of experience in the film industry, the odds were perhaps against him to make a rather important film likeMy Week With Marilyn that turns out a solid and all-round success. Curtis, like Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech goes straight into the blue and goes on to make a solid breakthrough in his career and provides an accurate on-screen vision of great historical figures. Like director Simon Curtis, screenwriter Adrian Hodges makes his film debut as he penned an extraordinary but rather flawed script. Hodges who previously wrote and co-created science-fiction television programmes Survivors and Primeval, perhaps didn’t get it all right with My Week With Marilyn as it consisted of a few particular scenes of dialogue with inappropriately vulgar lines. That is the only slight weakness of this film that slightly lacked the reality of a film set in 1950s London, but it is all-round a breakthrough for the makers.

To be able to not only pull off the precise vocals and talent but the beauty of the almost perfect woman that was Marilyn Monroe is almost impossible to achieve, but Michelle Williams’ portrayal of Monroe is pretty damn close! Williams who has appeared here and there in various films ever since her breakthrough performance in Brokeback Mountain, provides a performance as Marilyn Monroe that proves herself worthy as one of the greatest portrayals of a historical symbol in recent memory. She not only supplies the irresistible sex symbol status of Monroe but also maintained her cute, vulnerable and in-secure nature, just like Colin Firth did of King George VI in The King’s Speech. Plus, Williams acts as two people – Monroe herself but also Monroe in the role of Elsie in The Prince And The Showgirl, so that’s another positive aspect on Williams’ part. Quite frankly, if she does not win the Oscar for Best Leading Actress, the Academy will have made a huge, huge mistake as there could not have been a more explicit portrayal of the iconic Marilyn Monroe as Williams provides here.

My Week With Marilyn not only features Marilyn in one of her films but also other legendary actors portrayed by other ones from the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier, his wife at the time Vivien Leigh and Dame Sybil Thorndike. Kenneth Branagh who has appeared and directed in a numerous number of historical dramas, portrays Sir Laurence Olivier in a performance that provides Olivier as a both rather dangerous yet incredibly funny character. The love-hate chemistry between Williams and Branagh on-screen as Monroe and Olivier is absolutely superb as they generate together a re-birth illustration of the production within The Prince And The Showgirl. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of author and creator of the story Colin Clark provides a young and innocent character who perfectly demonstrates how easy Monroe really was on the eyes, and Judi Dench was her absolutely wonderful, supporting self once again as Dame Sybil Thorndike. The only weak-spots for casting were Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh who for starters doesn’t look like Leigh and adds no reality or belief that it’s Vivien Leigh on the screen. We all blatantly know Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in the incredibly popular Harry Potter franchise, and stars in a film that’s totally different to what she’s done before, but the problem is with Emma now is that all we know her as now and always will know her as Hermione Granger.

Overall, My Week With Marilyn is a solid and mesmerising motion picture that captures the reality of 1956 London alongside outstanding performances from Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh and makes its mark as another truly great biographical film and historical drama. In order to gain a clear understanding of Monroe’s and Olivier’s nature and fully appreciate the actors performances as the selective characters, it is perhaps essential to watch any one of their films that they’ve each been part of. Plus, if you’re firmly hooked to the emotion and inspiration of The King’s Speech, you are bound to gain a close sensitive attachment to My Week With Marilyn too.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 15/05/2012.

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