35 of 47 people found the following review helpful
'A' for effort, but decidedly lackluster,
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Amazon Video)
First off, I tip my hat to Michelle Williams. She gave a valiant effort in trying to pull off an icon, but she only got it 50% right. What she DID nail was Marilyn's emotions: vulnerablility, insecurity, brokeness, and need to be loved. She painted a beautiful picture of wounded woman. Where she missed the mark big-time was in not nailing the charisma, sex appeal, bombshell MOVIE STAR quality that men were captivated by and women wanted to attain. Sorry, but Ms. Wiliams, as good of an actress as she is, simply lacks the glamour, punch and va-va-voom flair of an old Hollywood starlet. This was like casting Anne Hathaway to play Elizabeth Taylor - just wouldn't work. When playing someone famous, simply being a good actor won't do - you have to have at least *some* of the essence of the person being emulated. Marilyn was lost in her internal drama a lot of the time, but she knew how turn it on and sell the showgirl image for the cameras. Williams seemed to just be growing through the motions and looked painfully uncomfortable in any scene where Marilyn had to be "on". You get the sense that she's a painfully shy/quiet person and couldn't turn up the personality enough notches to be believable as a 50's movie star. This is where finding an actress who had a background in musical theater would have made a world of difference. [No one knows how to "sell it" better than a Broadway actress!].
The poor casting continued with Julia Ormond [laughably] as Vivien Leigh. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING about Ormond's looks and performance remotely resembled the icon america came to know and love as Scarlett O'Hara.
The only saving grace acting-wise is Kenneth Branaugh who nailed Sir Lawrence Oliver down to the very last crisply-accentuated syllable. Well done! Dougray Scott was pretty good as Arthur Miller, but [sadly] was not in many scenes.
Performances aside, the movie was slow, predictable, dull and felt inauthentic.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 11, 2012 5:28:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 11, 2012 5:30:55 PM PDT
It's amazing to have anyone play Marilyn and also get Marilyn's magic. That's just not fair. I agree with you but what do you expect. You will have to get the real Marilyn to play herself. Marilyn is the one and only and no one can be her.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2013 4:48:03 AM PST
Yes, that's the problem, have to be Marilyn. I'm have way through the video and find it lack-lustre for that reason. Maybe the film should have been about a talented and well-meaning actress trying to play Marilyn but realizing it can't be done well. Could still use the dairy plot but have the well-meaning actress studying film of the real Marilyn and trying to grasp the essence. "The Misfits" has always seemed to me to be the closest to the real Marilyn. So, The Week with Marilyn would take on meaning with actors trying to grasp the truth of acting, is it life or pretense? This is brought up in the movie, explore it further? Just musing, but that would be a whole different movie. I'll watch the rest of this one later this week.
Posted on May 26, 2013 7:30:39 PM PDT
I think I agree with all this. Marilyn's nearly universal, enduring reputation as an iconic beauty was probably overstated for many of her fans. In better times though, she really knew how to suck it up and make the best with what she had. That is the Marilyn Monroe most of us remember -- the Movie Star. I think "My Week With Marilyn" misses this important aspect of whom I believe Marilyn was, but in fairness it only covers one week in her entire life so may not even be relevant then. In any period, the enigmatic Marilyn would be a tough charactor for anyone to portray. So much for my rambling . . .
Posted on Sep 18, 2013 3:40:45 AM PDT
Truth Seeker says:
who do you think would have played Marilyn well? which actress comes to mind? I bet there are few and far between.
Posted on Dec 1, 2013 3:06:12 PM PST
I agree, that Williams does the sweet, lost-child, vulnerability aspect of Marilyn beautifully but lacks the brassiness that Marilyn also possessed. Also, if you believe Arthur Miller's version of Marilyn in "After the Fall" there was a raving bitch in there too. We don't see any of that in William's sweetheart of a Marilyn.
Posted on Jun 12, 2014 3:57:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2014 3:58:29 AM PDT
Paul Peabody says:
Couldn't disagree more, Ms. Williams portrayal being improved by a musical theatre personage is absurd. Ms. Williams portrayal is hearbreaking beautiful and fleshed out the human being behind the "character" in such a way, that it is unlikely any actress working today could have given her such a real side and still shown her public persona the way she did. So Julia Ormond was not so good, big deal, Dougray Scott's character is a mean sow, why need to see him any more than we do ? Clearly this review is about the reviewers "vast" knowledge, and as such misses the heart and humanity of this move, as Rex Reed said, of this "perfect production" A reviewer who desperately needs to be heard.
Posted on Sep 21, 2014 11:42:14 PM PDT
Ian D. says:
Ms. Williams may have read your review and be trying to make up for what you perceive as her deficiencies: i saw her in Cabaret on Broadway last night. she's one of my celebrity crushes and she was the one i was most excited about seeing, but as it turned out, Alan Cumming and some actors in more minor roles did kind of blow her off the stage. i hope she keeps at it though. if she can realize her potential in live theater, she'll truly be a force to be reckoned with.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2014 2:24:30 AM PDT
Paul Peabody says:
I think you may be responding to the wrong review, I found no defficiencies in her Week with Marilyn ,anything but, and found her to add a warmth, charm, and frailty that was totally believable in a superbly done movie which won her a globe. So , I think, your reponse might relate to someone else's review !
Posted on Apr 4, 2015 4:59:59 PM PDT
I disagree with this review because the movie doesn't depict the "va-va-voom" aspects of Monroe in the first place -- it's kind of hard to have a brassy Monroe at a time in her life when she wasn't particularly brassy. During the week depicted, Monroe might have had a miscarriage, she discovered Miller's contemptuous notes about her in his diary, and she had Paula Strasberg literally sucking her life away like some sinister court vizier. Prior to all this, she had to put up with a British press that openly mocked her pretensions and aspirations to her face. And before all of that, she had quit Hollywood to try to become a legitimate actor in New York. This story isn't about the early glamor-girl, nor is it about the later, self-destructive "Happy Birthday Mr. President" trainwreck. I'm perfectly willing to settle for Michelle Williams' "50%", given that her real-life counterpart's other persona wasn't present in London on the set of "Prince and the Showgirl" in the first place.
In any case, the reviewer's wish for a sex-pot who also happens to be a very fine Broadway actor, and who therefore could conceivably 100%-convince as Monroe in all her facets, including the depressed pill-popper, is a pretty futile one. I think this is more of a case of a viewer who doesn't really care for the depressed Monroe. If you're like the reviewer, then by all means, don't bother with "My Week with Marilyn".
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