Directed by Simon Curtis. Starring Michelle Williams and Eddie Redmayne.
The mesmerizing Marilyn Monroe finally accepts to play in a movie-shoot in a small town somewhere in England.
Colin Clark, a 23-year-old student determined to make it in the movie industry, is employed as an assistant by one of the star of the upcoming movie: Sir Laurence Olivier.
Sir Laurence Olivier is an accomplished, well-known actor and Marilyn Monroe is a spell-binding performer. Such a promising cast would assure the success of the future film. But Marilyn’s chronic lateness, mood-swings or lunatic stages, and her surprising interest for Calvin Clark, the young and charming assistant, brings some fire in front and behind the camera.
“My Week with Marilyn” witnesses the meeting between Colin Clark and Marilyn Monroe. It is the story of a passionate and innocent kid falling in love with a 30-year-old troubled woman. They will both help each other to grow up but apart. It is a little love story that both the dull-facers and non-fans of romance could enjoy.
No, the movie is not a condensé of Marilyn Monroe’s life as there is no suicidal act at the end of the movie nor the sensual “Happy-Birthday-to-You” that she sung to President Kennedy. But “My Week with Marilyn” helps to get to know Marilyn Monroe, the lunatic phases that she is known for, or again how she is conscious and playful with her body. It shows how Monroe is actually more complex than the character she displays on stage; how off-stage, when the lights are off, when the make-up is wiped, when the glitters fall down…Marilyn Monroe is not Marilyn Monroe.
Some critic said that Michelle Williams displays a flat version of Marilyn Monroe on screen. But I cannot give her such negative criticism. Of course, her interpretation does not reach Jamie Foxx in “Ray” or Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” where she gave chills in her interpretation of Edith Piaf, but still Michelle Williams was on point. The play between her and Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark was simple, therefore quite believable.
I have never seen Eddie Redmayne in any movie before. A great first impression to me as I give him my crush-award in that movie!
The overall actors’ performances are remarkable as every single character achieved their depth, including Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), an accomplished but arrogant actor who only smoked his own name-brand cigarettes. Also probably in love with Monroe (but all the males are in that movie) to his strong and elegant wife Vivian Leigh (Julia Ormand). Vivian Leigh is the only female of the movie that seems to have the aura and the effect that Marilyn has on men except that she is deeply, truly, completely intimidated by Monroe and vice-versa actually.
Even for the Harry-Potter addict, Emma Watson, who plays the behind-the-scene and down-to-earth young assistant Lucy who washes her hair every Thursdays or Fridays and is in love with Colin Clark, is moving.
More than the fabulous Sinatra-ish songs that accompanied the filming of the landscape, it is the close-ups that I admired.
Being a sentimental movie, close-ups are expected, but it gives beauty and dimension to the story; and here again the quality of the casts shines through it, as the close-ups drag you into a character’s mind.
Should you watch, rent or buy “My Week with Marilyn”? I’ll say rent it but it truly is a must-watch!