My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Directed by SIMON CURTIS
Back in the 50s, young Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) got a job working on the set of none other than Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). The movie was The Prince and the Showgirl, and Olivier co-starred with the already legendary Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). My Week with Marilyn is based on two novels by Clark himself, telling the story of the well known tension between the leads, while focusing on the allegedly true events that took place on the week Clark was assigned to escort Monroe. 

It is a given truth that every time a legend dyes, hundreds rise with stories of intimate encounters, or claiming to have known an unseen side of them. Wether Clark’s story is entirely real or not, no one can truly tell, but one thing is certain: My Week with Marilyn does nothing do add some credibility to it. 

With whimsical shots in dreamlike slow-motion, it looks more like Colin’s secret fantasy rather than an intimate portrayal of what he saw during those seven days. And there’s just nothing interesting about a walkthrough of someone else’s dream. Such an unpersuasive script and disappointing direction could only be saved the actor’s work. Redmayne is quite believable as Clark, playing the nervous newbie/creepy fan perfectly well; Branagh brings some spark to the film’s initial dullness, capturing Olivier’s mannerisms in a believable portrayal, despite not resembling him all that much; and Williams does her best to give Marilyn some humanity, diving into the actress’s mental fragility with the immense talent she had already proven to have, and avoiding clichés when it comes her gestures, even though the make-believe atmosphere keeps holding the candidness back. Judi Dench brings her usual majestic magnetism, while I’m not entirely sure why Emma Watson was there, since they did nothing with her character. 

But the real surprise to me was Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller: not only was he splendidly styled to look as Miller, but also his performance proved to be incredibly striking from the moment he first appears. Though granted very few scenes, I found his fleeting portrayal of Miller to be quite mesmerising, once all it took was someone to mention his name to instantly bringing back the haunting images of Scott/Miller arriving at the airport with Marilyn, or starring from the top of the stairs at her. 

By far, the most interesting aspect of My Week with Marilyn was the explosive dynamic between Oliver and Monroe, but unfortunately, it is Colin and his fairytale who take center stage. The truth is, you won’t learn anything new. 

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