My Week with Marilyn Review

Movies that are based on real events tend to be dramatizations of spectacular occurrences or life stories of individuals who achieved great things throughout their lives, but every once in a while a film comes along that chronicles a relatively minor narrative. My Week with Marilyn is a tender and affectionate recreation of just such a tale.

Set in 1957, it is based on the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, a movie that starred Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, and was filmed in England. Olivier became famously irritated by Monroe’s unreliability, despite his obvious captivation at her charm. Kenneth Branagh gives an excellent performance as the famous actor, treading a fine line between anger and when she does decide to work, simpering gratitude, no doubt designed to make her want to turn up again on time the following day.

Fresh from university, Colin Clark, played by Eddie Redmayne, is tasked with the job of ensuring Monroe turns up on set, but he finds it increasingly difficult to keep her in check. Ever the free spirit, The American actress was never one for itineraries and schedules, and would often find excuses to not show up at all.

One of the successes of My Week with Marilyn is the faithful recreation of 1950s England. The buildings, cars, and clothing all help to give the movie an air of credibility, and the rather quirky way of working that would have come as something of a shock to Monroe, who was obviously more used to the slick production techniques of Hollywood.

Marilyn Monroe was the focal point of just about every film she ever made, and it’s her persona which steals the show in this one, too. Michelle Williams captures her outer beauty and inner confusion perfectly, giving modern-day audiences an insight into just how difficult it was for Monroe to play the superstar while maintaining her personal equilibrium. Williams lost out at the Academy Awards to Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher; in almost any other year, she would surely have walked away with the Oscar.
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