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MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is exquisite! Michelle Williams’ portrayal of the legendary Marilyn Monroe is luminous and heartbreaking. It must be challenging to play one of cinema’s all time bombastic bombshells, Williams doesn’t look like Marilyn Monroe but she captures Monroe’s essence, her soft spoken voice and her sultry, teasing, mannerism. The moment Marilyn Monroe walks into a room, everybody drops whatever it is that they’re doing and all eyes behold her, Williams disappears in her character…
In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark, just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of “THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL”, the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe, who, whilst shooting, was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller.
Nearly 40 years on, his diary account “THE PRINCE, THE SHOWGIRL AND ME” was published, but one week was missing, and this is the story of that week: an idyll in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of working. When Arthur Miller makes a brief trip to Paris, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce her to some of the pleasures of British life.
When I was watching this film at the press screening, I was trying to recall what other movies in the past that dealt with a great legend mentoring a young protege, for some reason Scent Of A Woman came to mind but MY WEEK WITH MARILYN doesn’t deal with tough love military style and obviously Marilyn doesn’t yell hoo-ha at Colin Clark’s (Eddie Redmayne) face.
The relationship between Marilyn and the young assistant Colin is not so much about mentorship, if any I think it’s more of a restrained, misunderstood but kind friendship.
You can see that ache, that unfulfilled longing for anyone who could accept and understand her not as a film star and not as a sex symbol either and she finds that in Colin.
Thanks to Williams’ brilliant performance, you truly feel for Marilyn, because there’s that sense of abandonment. It makes you wonder exactly how destructive were her previous relationships.
Before Colin comes along, she finds solace in pills and she’s gotten in too deep with those pills, there’s no way of letting go.
I enjoy watching Redmayne’s performance as Colin, he’s not some crazy fan, he’s a fan who absolutely adores Marilyn, the kind that worships at her feet. She can do no wrong in his eyes. He loves Marilyn but it brings up the good question of what is love. After three marriages, Marilyn has heard men say the word love to her but they leave her anyway.
Some parts of Marilyn-Colin interaction move in a state of dreamlike while others childlike.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is a very performance-driven film, the great Kenneth Branagh as the annoyed and angry Laurence Olivier provides some of the film’s humorous and profound moments. Dame Judi Dench as the late Dame Thorndike provides the assuring voice that calms Marilyn’s fears.
I think the audience will love this film’s gentle approach, its less explosive approach to themes of unhappiness, but if all else fails, Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe will have you hypnotized.
GRADE: 5 out of 5
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