Marilyn Monroe; sex symbol, starlet, showgirl.
With her trademark platinum blonde locks and crimson lips, Marilyn Monroe still holds the title of ultimate pin-up girl. But behind the glamour of 1950s stardom, there was a darker side to Hollywood, and to Miss Monroe’s life in the limelight.
‘My week with Marilyn’ is the newest biopic depicting Marilyn’s personal struggles at the height of her career. Playing such an icon is not at all like playing a fictional character, and actress Michelle Williams is truly triumphant in her portrayal. The physical likeness is uncanny, but it’s the little quirks- the hip swaying, the lip-biting and fluttering of eyelashes which make Williams’ performance both credible and entirely forgivable.
Set in 1957, during the filming of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ with Laurence Olivier -who, at the time was a very well-respected actor – ‘My week with Marilyn’ shows the insecurities behind the most famous face in Hollywood.
The film is beautifully made. The colours are crisp, the setting highlights the best of English countryside and the clothes are wonderfully authentic. As a piece of art, I can predict this film picking up awards for its cinematography and art direction.
The cast is superb, with Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Dougray Scott and Dominic Cooper. I initially doubted some of the choices, for example Kenneth Branagh, who plays Laurence Olivier, yet holds no resemblance to him whatsoever. To be honest, this did bother me slightly throughout the film as Branagh is a brilliant actor but he’s not particularly dashing and that made the scenes between Laurence Olivier and Monroe a little cringe-worthy to watch.
On the whole, I really enjoyed this film. There were quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, and the whole cinema went up in chuckles. I also felt quite tearful during some of the emotional scenes, largely due to the wonderful acting, but also because of strong script. It’s nice to see a film without clichés or weak lines, the dialogue in ‘My week with Marilyn’ felt naturalistic, it invoked empathy from the audience.
I came away feeling so reflective, and really quite saddened by it all. The film doesn’t end sadly- on the contrary – it shows Marilyn on her way to getting the critical acclaim as an actress which she craved. Even so, the entire film is strewn with incredibly touching subtext, little hints and sentiments of something really quite heart-breaking. Behind the actress there is just a girl who wants what every girl wants: to be loved.
Well made, well-paced, and an altogether well put together picture, I heartily recommend watching ‘My week with Marilyn‘ this winter. The film and its subject will stay with you long after the credits roll.