My Week with Marilyn

2012-02-17 13:09
What it's about:

In the summer of 1956, recent Oxford graduate Colin Clark tries to make his way in the film business. He finds himself working as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, a film starring British acting legend Sir Laurence Olivier and the Hollywood siren Marilyn Monroe. In one special week Colin is let into the private world of the most famous woman in the world and the two form a unique bond.

What we thought:

In My Week with Marilyn we are invited to relive a particular time in the life of the young Colin Clark, but also a time in the life of one of Hollywood's most elusive icons. During this summer of 1956, Monroe arrives in London to film a trifling little comedy alongside the great British actor Sir Laurence Olivier. She is newly wed to American playwright Arthur Miller and her arrival causes a sensation.

What follows is a sensitive retelling of what happened during this exceptional summer – and in particular one week of that summer – in which Colin Clark was granted a glimpse into the life, mind and heart of Hollywood's most famous stars.

The film is based on two memoirs by Colin Clark, titled The Prince, the Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn respectively. The film is thus not Monroe's life story but rather an excerpt from her life at a time when it briefly intertwined with Clark's. This brings with it a finite quality which works surprisingly well – being restricted to this one week, as it were, with Marilyn we are able to view her from up close without the clutter of her whole life's colourful details. The memoirs and the film capture snapshots of Marilyn Monroe, but they and ultimately Colin Clark can never quite puzzle out the enigma that she truly was.

However, we are given a rough idea. During her time at Pinewood Studios in London, Marilyn sends temperatures and tempers through the roof with her demure sexuality, her sweet foolishness and her insufferable unprofessionalism. Sir Laurence Olivier – brilliantly played by Kenneth Branagh – struggles to keep it together as Marilyn and her entourage of coddlers test him on and off the set. As third assistant director, Colin Clark must act as mediator between the forces of the fragile, doped-up Marilyn and the austere Olivier.

As Colin inches closer to the star, he gradually becomes her ally and confidant. It is here where we are given glimpses of the real Marilyn – at once a voluptuous beauty, but also a vulnerable and damaged young woman.There is a constant sense that what we are seeing is a truly intimate portrait – the fact that the film is based on a true account elevates that feeling as one imagines Colin Clark divulging his secrets to us.

Williams takes it upon herself to showcase Marilyn's split persona – one minute she is the little-girl-lost, but in a wink she is able to turn on the wattage to become the sex bomb starlet. In one brief, but memorable scene she asks Colin, "Shall I be her?" before transforming into full-on Marilyn – the megastar.

Williams teases an extremely nuanced and complex character out of a well-written but sparse seeming script. Her pitch-perfect portrayal, if not My Week with Marilyn's overall loveliness and charm, should be the reason to see this well-crafted film.

Michelle Williams is electrifying as the Hollywood siren Marilyn Monroe, as seen through the eyes of a young man who gets to be her assistant and confidant on the set of her new movie, opposite British acting legend Sir Laurence Olivier.
Read more on:    marilyn monroe  |  michelle williams  |  review  |  movies

Kwaadjie 2012/02/22 4:05 PM
  • Rating:
gee my ook 'n week met haar
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