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"First love is such sweet despair',
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Amazon Instant Video)
Marilyn Monroe remains one of the most famous creations of Hollywood for the last century. In many ways she satisfied the needs of Everyman: she came form a abusive and loveless childhood, entered the realm of celluloid because of an incandescent beauty of body and face, she captured the hearts of everyone who flocked to her movies, she became the Queen of the World, and yet she was likely as fragile and insecure little porcelain doll as ever existed. MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is apparently a true story written by Colin Clark based on his diaries `My Week With Marilyn' and `The Prince, the Showgirl and Me' and in Adrian Hodges adaptation for the screen all of the above mentioned qualities of the public and private Marilyn Monroe are condensed in a 90-minute film. On many levels it works despite the rather choppy manner in which it is presented by director Simon Curtis.
1955 and Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) is moving form the theater to make a movie in London. Young Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), a lad form a wealthy family who is obsessed with being in the film business, wants to be involved and he navigates himself a job on the set. When film star Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) arrives for the start of shooting, all of London is excited to see the blonde bombshell, while Olivier attempts to struggle to meet her many demands and acting ineptness, and Colin is intrigued by her. Colin's intrigue is met when Marilyn invites him into her inner world where she struggles with her fame, her beauty and her desire to be a great actress. It is this week of extreme fragility in Monroe's life where we discover more about Marilyn's psyche than we ever thought possible.
Populating the making of the film are Olivier's wife Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormond), Dame Sybil Thorndike (Judi Dench) who bolsters Marilyn's ego, Marilyn's current husband playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), Marilyn's acting coach and mentor Paula Strasberg (ZoŽ Wanamaker), Marilyn's contingent of American movie moguls Milton Green (Dominic Cooper) and Arthur Jacobs (Toby Jones) as well as Colin's relative Sir Owen Morshead (Derek Jacobi) and Colin's would-be girlfriend Lucy (Emma Watson) along with a massive group of supporting actors in small roles. Michelle Williams and the makeup and costume department seem less interested in re-creating a Monroe droid, instead allowing Williams to enter the persona of Monroe - a wise decision and Williams accomplishes the impossible task of making us see Marilyn Monroe as a person. The remainder of the cast is quite fine as one would expect with a group of actors of this caliber. One can wonder why the many roles of Americans were cast with British actors, but that is a quibble. Though Williams has a lovely little voice in her many singing moments she does not resemble then inimitable Monroe sound and quirky vibrato - but that is in keeping with creating the spirit of Monroe and not imitating or mimicking the inimitable. Alexandre Desplat once again provides a perfect music score for the film. In the end this is a satisfying if not overwhelming memoir of the one and only Marilyn Monroe. It works, thanks in large part to Michelle Williams. Grady Harp, March 12