My Week with Marilyn (R) B
"My Week with Marilyn" contains one of the best acting ensembles of any film this year, led by the amazing Michele Williams as Marilyn Monroe. Williams picked-up a well deserved Golden Globe victory and Academy Award nomination for her performance. As for the movie itself, it's not bad either.
The story, based on actual events, takes place in London in 1956, during the time the movie "The Prince and the Showgirl" was being made. Actor Sir Laurence Olivier is both the male lead and the movie's director. Monroe is the world's biggest star at the time, but she wasn't exactly the easiest actor to work with, as she was constantly late getting to the set, had problems memorizing her lines and was always very nervous and constantly taking pills.
At the center of the movie is Colin Clark, a 23-year old who's left his home to get into the movie business. This is his story. Clark gets a job working on this film, hired as the Third Assistant Director, which means he pretty much runs errands for Olivier. After awhile his main duty becomes keeping an eye on Marilyn, trying to be sure she gets to the set each day on time. Even though Monroe is married to her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller, at the time and Colin is beginning to date a girl in the wardrobe department (Emma Watson) the two begin to develop a relationship - Monroe out of need, Clark out of love - a relationship that both know cannot last.
"My Week with Marilyn" is based on Clark's own diary entries, written in 1995. The plot line is straight forward, with no twists or distracting subplots. And this simple treatment of the story works, because it allows us to easily enjoy the time, the place and especially the performances.
Williams will got most of the attention when the movie was released last year, and rightfully so. From the clips I've seen of the real Marilyn Monroe Williams was spot on. She shows us all sides of Monroe, in front of and away from the camera. And it can't be easy being a good actress playing a bad actress who, at times, was a good actress, but Williams is tremendous in those scenes. This will be a star-making role for Eddie Redmayne as Colin, but it's the veteran supporting cast that gives the film it's depth. Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh is outstanding as Olivier. Julia Ormond plays his wife, an aging Vivien Leigh, and Dame Judi Dench is wonderful as film actress Cybil Thorndike.
The main problem I have with "My Week with Marilyn" is the pacing. The film's first 20-minutes or so move incredibly fast, then things calm down to a more enjoyable pace for awhile, before really slowing down at the end.
"My Week with Marilyn" is rated R for language, smoking and brief nudity. It's appropriate for teens and up.
On "The Official Kid Critic Report Card", "My Week with Marilyn" gets a B.
"The Prince and the Showgirl" ended-up not being a success, either critically or financially. "Marilyn" didn't do as well as I thought it would during awards season. I'm guessing many people who missed/skipped it when it was in theaters will enjoy it on DVD.
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