Update: Posted the new trailer at the bottom of the post!
I never completely understood the fascination with Marilyn Monroe. I had seen a few of her movies, while they were great and entertaining, I wasn’t as enchanted with her as many others seemed to be. Maybe it was her status as a sex symbol that seemed off-putting to me. I usually look up to strong, intelligent women; most of them aren’t usually regarded as sex symbols. When a huge art sculpture of Monroe was resurrected in my hometown, Chicago, I viewed it as a huge eye-sore.
Therefore, it was surprising that I found myself very interested in seeing the new movie, My Week with Marilyn. I can’t explain where this interest stemmed from, whether it was the cast or story. All I knew is that once I received an invitation to see it, I knew I very much wanted to see it. My Week with Marilyn is based off the true story of Colin Clark’s time with Marilyn Monroe, during production of The Prince and the Showgirl. The talented Eddie Redmayne plays the eager Colin, ready to do anything and everything to be in the film business. He lands a job as a director’s assistant on The Prince and the Showgirl. There he meets a flurry of different people: the director, Laurence Olivier (wonderfully played by Kenneth Branagh), Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormond), Lucy, the costume girl (Emma Watson), the lovely Dame Sybil Thorndike (Judi Dench), and finally the fabulous Marilyn Monroe (impeccably played by Michelle Williams). Colin quickly learns that the film business is more hectic than expected, between running many errands and listening to all of Olivier’s demands. But he loves every minute of it.
The cast is beyond brilliant. Redmayne embodies Colin’s transformation from a young, eager and naïve man into someone more mature and experienced. Everyone warns Colin about Marilyn, saying that she’ll make you love her and then completely drop you. Colin falls for her anyway, and the audience finds themselves in the same position. I fell in love with Marilyn Monroe. This very troubled and beautiful girl is purely irresistible. I wasn’t watching Michelle Williams on the screen; it was Marilyn. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen an actress embody a character so flawlessly. Kenneth Branagh’s Laurence Olivier is perfect. His role is more comedic, and Branagh just portrays Olivier to a T. Olivier’s frustration with Monroe’s work ethic was hilarious, but even Olivier couldn’t deny that he was still enamored with the star. Judi Dench’s Sybil Thorndike is the kindest of characters. She is the first to be kind to Colin, and never dismisses Monroe when she’s on her twelfth or twentieth mistake. She encourages her, which the impatient Olivier couldn’t manage to do sincerely. Ormond plays a convincing Vivien Leigh. Leigh is gracious to Monroe, but it is easy to tell that she’s concerned about a relationship springing between her husband, Olivier, and Monroe. Finally, Emma Watson’s role as Lucy is rather small. Colin takes an interest in Lucy and takes her on a date; however, things change once Monroe lands on set.
This isn’t a biopic on Monroe’s life. It’s more of a snapshot of her life, but a very telling snapshot. I didn’t know much about Monroe’s life and personality. I was surprised by how she was. What I loved about this movie is the new perspective it gave on Monroe. It gave me a chance to truly understand her and why everyone was captivated with her. As I mentioned, Williams shines as Monroe. When she was onscreen, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I left the movie with a new understanding and respect for Marilyn Monroe. I can elaborate on all the many things I learned about Monroe, but I feel like that’s something that each person should discover on their own when seeing this film. Because in the end, that’s what made the story so rich to me.
The story and acting is what sets this movie apart from the rest. Without a doubt, My Week with Marilyn is one of my favorite films of the year. I’m really hoping that Oscar sticks with its anglophile ways and gives this movie the attention it deserves, particularly Michelle Williams. I recommend this movie to everyone who loves Monroe and to those who were like me and didn’t understand her. Colin had a life-changing week with Marilyn; we only get about an hour and forty-something minutes with her, but it’s just as amazing.
My Week with Marilyn releases into select theaters November 23rd.