Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 24, 2012

Shooting star

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:29 pm

February 24, 2012

Cast: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Julia Ormond, Dominic Cooper, Emma Watson, Dougray Scott

Director: Simon Curtis

My Week With Marilyn, based on a memoir by Colin Clark, who served as third assistant director on the England set of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956, is a light, frothy film that sadly fails to demystify the iconic sex symbol, but instead only adds to her legend. There’s nothing here about Marilyn Monroe that we haven’t been told a hundred times already – she had a captivating effect on both men and women, she was troubled, she was selfish, she broke people’s hearts, she took pills, the camera loved her. And yet, the film is an enchanting watch, not least because Michelle Williams, who plays Monroe, delivers a knockout performance that nails the very essence of the siren’s appeal.

Much of the film details Monroe’s clashes on set with theatre giant Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), her co-star and director, who became frustrated with her lack of professionalism and her tendency to botch up her lines. At the heart of the story, however, are the romantic encounters that a besotted Clark (an impressive Eddie Redmayne) claims to have shared with Monroe, after she took a shine to the lowly gofer.

My Week With Marilyn is no revelatory biopic; the film unfolds through the perspective of an infatuated boy. What makes it more than just an awestruck reverie, however, is the remarkable acting by its solid ensemble. Kenneth Branagh plays Olivier as a theatrical, exasperated thespian, and Judi Dench is terrific as the great Shakespearean actress Dame Sybil Thorndike, who is surprisingly sympathetic to Monroe. There are other smaller but memorable turns…by Emma Watson in the role of a pretty wardrobe assistant; Dougray Scott making a cameo as Monroe’s latest husband, intellectual playwright Arthur Miller; and Julia Ormond appearing as the watchful wife of Olivier, legendary actress Vivien Leigh. But expectedly the film rests on the delicate shoulders of Michelle Williams, who captures both Monroe’s emotional neediness, and her power to entrance.

I’m going with three out of five for My Week With Marilyn. Don’t expect a piercing look into the life of one of the most talked-about women in the world; just enjoy it for what it really is – a nostalgic portrait of a bygone era of filmmaking.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

1 Comment »

  1. I’m one of the few people on the paenlt who doesn’t get the marilyn monroe thing but okay. When I was a kid I found her scary (she was long dead at that time but you couldn’t escape her), what with the hair and that weird way of talking and all. Yikes.I love Michelle Williams and I’ll see it because she’s in it and it looks good.

    Comment by Gundicelalu — May 18, 2012 @ 11:38 am

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