English Director, Simon Curtis, whom literally introduced the world to Daniel Radcliffe in "David Copperfield" in 1999, directs the onscreen adaptation of Colin Curtis' memoirs, "My Week with Marilyn". Co-produced by The Weinstein Company and UK's BBC Films, in association with Lypsinc Productions, Trademark Films and the UK Film Council, this co-American/UK production is simply sublime. A cast comprised of some of the finest British actors of this time, headed by that little "Dawson's Creek" girl - Michelle Williams as the luminous Marilyn Monroe. The film chronicles the somewhat tumultuous period on the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl" between Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. Central to the story is Colin Clark - a bright and enthusiastic country boy who "runs away to join the circus" as Olivier so aptly puts at the conclusion of the film. Colin Clark gains a job as part of the production company. There he inevitably comes in contact with the superstar herself and witnesses the torments and struggles she encounters during their short time together.
|Michelle Williams is Marilyn Monroe|
It is an incredibly touching story. Where to start? Suffice it to say, one must simply see this film. As I was paying for my ticket at the cinema this evening, the gentleman who served me said, "ah yes, this is a wonderful little film" and he was so correct. What makes it so good? The story for one, the characters, the actors playing those characters, the sets, the costumes, the direction, the music, the mood - all components merged together so effortlessly to create a memorable and touching film.
|Norma Jean the real Marilyn Monroe|
Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe was just breathtaking. Words do no justice to explain how well she performed. There was something almost haunting about watching her onscreen. I didn't see the gamine teenager from the nineties television show, "Dawson's Creek". I saw Marilyn Monroe onscreen. I wonder what it must have been like for those that had known the real Marilyn Monroe, to see Michelle onscreen portraying her. Physically, she is not at all a spitting image of the Silver Screen Goddess, although she does share similarities, but its mainly through her movements, her speech, her embodiment of the woman that makes her so convincing. She doesn't "become" Marilyn, as so many actors that play very famous individuals onscreen fall into the trap of "becoming" caricatures of the real thing, Michelle achieves something that surpasses so many (even the great) actors. She is Marilyn on that screen. That is your experience.
The last moments of the film are so touching as she says her goodbyes - you literally feel as though the woman herself is speaking out to you from beyond the grave. You can almost feel her spirit through Michelle's performance. Unreal. Nevertheless, this level of performance was what I was expecting from Michelle and I had full confidence she would carry this off. Hence, after seeing this film, I am glad she was not awarded the Oscar for this performance. Not because it was unworthy - no, on the contrary, because I feel that we haven't seen the pinnacle of Michelle's skill just yet. We've seen what she is capable of - but I know she can give us more. I call it a "rabbit out of a hat" moment. That moment where you sit there flabberghasted because you were surprised by how incredible a performance had been delivered by such an individual. That "rabbit out of a hat" moment for Michelle, for me, came during her performance in "Shutter Island" as Leonardo DiCaprio's tortured wife. That was a real wow moment for me and made me step back and take notice of this actress. So when I rocked up to the cinema tonight I knew she would be good. And she was - more than good. But I feel there is another "rabbit out of a hat" moment coming, and when it does come, that's when she'll take home that golden trophy. But for now, I sit back in anticipation.
|Film still "My Week with Marilyn"|
Whilst Monroe was the feature of the film, the real protagonist is Colin Clark himself. It documents the story from his point of view and you experience how he views Marilyn and how he comes to understand her. The Marilyn onscreen is tormented by her real deep-seated insecurity. As we all know, it's ultimately what destroys her, but it was very interesting to see this film depict the very real Marilyn. Behind the glitz and glamour she was a woman that struggled deeply with her severe lack of confidence, which manifested itself in paranoia and deep depression.
|Julia Ormond as Vivienne Leigh and Kenneth Brannagh as Sir Laurence Olivier|
English actor, Eddie Redmayne plays the young, naive Colin Clark. He is well cast and suited to this role and provides a sense of stability in the film as he is surrounded by crazy, ego-maniac and over the top individuals from the film industry. Other big names featured as well and they were all fantastic in their own right. Dame Judy Dench as per usual, putting in a flawless performance as the elderly actress, Dame Sybil Thorndike; Kenneth Brannagh as Sir Laurence Olivier was excellent in his delivery of an actor struggling with his ego and battling to compete with the superstar mega-train that was Marilyn Monroe; Emma Watson featured briefly as one of the production crew and Julia Ormond as the ever-glamorous Vivienne Leigh. Julia is divine and every moment she appears onscreen became a favorite of mine. She is the prime example of grace onscreen.
All in all, it is an intriguing yet heart-breaking story. It demonstrates what happens in the throes of first love as well as the conflicts of stardom and what fame without any boundaries can do to someone.
Thoroughly entertaining and something you must not miss.