“Shall I be her?” whispers Marilyn Monroe to her young, British confidant Colin Clark, just before she poses and pouts for an assembled group of adoring fans.
She slips into the part as if it were one of her form fitting costumes, and becomes the icon of charm and sex that the world knew her to be.
Moments like this are what make “My Week With Marilyn,” directed by Simon Curtis, a surprisingly light hearted and, at times, fun film.
Given what we know of Marilyn Monroe’s demons and tragic end, it would be easy to dwell on the darker parts of this starlets personal life, but instead we are given a slightly more optimistic picture.
The summer of 1956, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) is in England to shoot a film called, “The Prince and the Showgirl,” starring opposite Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh).
It’s a difficult shoot, with Marilyn showing up hours late for filming, or not at all.
Surrounded by an army of enablers and “yes” men and women, including her acting coach acting coach, Paula Strasberg (Zoë Wanamaker) and current husband, Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), Marilyn turns to the young assistant director, Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) for support.
Despite appearances, the film does not paint Marilyn as a victim. Just as she is used by others, she also uses people for her own purposes.
She may be a tortured soul, but she also knows how to manipulate people.
Michelle Williams as the bubbly blonde is captivating. She surprises in the quiet moments, and dominates the screen when she goes into full on Marilyn. It’s hard to imagine anyone doing a more spot on performance, other than the original, of course.
As the completely frustrated Sir Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh is superb. Given Branagh’s career, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the legendary Olivier. To see such a force of acting be dominated by a blonde bombshell is entertaining, to say the least.
Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark (the “My” of “My Week With Marilyn”), the young, star-struck third assistant director is perfect. His naivety and optimism, have us at least hoping that he’ll get the girl in the end.
Of course, we all know how this story ends, but, “My Week With Marilyn” takes a break from all the tragedy and regret that surrounds the story of Marilyn Monroe. And gives us a small glimpse of who this person and star really was.
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