8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Negotiating the magic tragic web,
This review is from: My Week with Marilyn (DVD)
When I went to see this movie in December, inwardly I was lamenting the overall quality of movies in 2011, with a plethora of remakes, reboots and sequels, and I wondered if Hollywood was running out of fresh ideas, while recycling the same formulas. Remakes/reboots in 2011 included Straw Dogs, Footloose, Arthur, The Thing, Conan, Spy Kids, Final Destination 5, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Some of the movies were high quality such as Girl with the dragon tattoo, and Xmen First Class.
Last year Michelle Williams deservedly received her second Academy Award nomination for Blue Valentine, and now she is nominated for the role of Marilyn Monroe. I liked this movie enormously, and was disappointed that it did not get nominated for Best Picture instead of Extremely Loud and Incredibly close, a dubious choice.
Nevertheless politics being what it is if MWWM was nominated it might give the appearance of Weinstein Studios having too much sway with the Academy Awards, as they also released the Artist with 11 nominations, and the appalling Iron Lady whose only redeeming grace is Meryl Streeps nominated performance, and last year had The Kings Speech.
What Michelle Williams and the movie delivers is a very delicately nuanced and multi dimensional portait of Marilyn that we have not seen previously, those shifts in personality, her ability to be vunerable, to charm, to seduce and manipulate, and if you are Larry Olivier the ability to frustrate your ambition to make an incredible movie. In a perhaps ironic twist in view of recent events we see the entourage of people who can't say no or risk punishment or exclusion.
So we have a young wideeyed man who through connections gets his first job in the business working for Olivier, and responsible for keeping things even with Marilyn. If you're like me you wonder if he will be drawn too far into the web of Marilyn, and if the obvious siren attraction of Marilyn will be his doom. They grow close and here is where the movie takes some liberties on the book on which it's based, but the will they won't they aspect will keep you guessing after the final credits roll. The movie captures the period very well.
Although most attention has focused on the performance of Michelle Williams, I loved the performance of Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier. He listened to Oliver on audio to perfect the mannerisms and the lines, and even had the exact same shoes custom made to fit the part.
It seems fitting that someone who has spent a career following in Olivier's footsteps, acting Shakespeare and bringing the plays to the screen, may finally get the Academy Award for walking in his shoes.
It's clear here that he is a superior actor, and perfectly achieves both his theatrical mannerisms and intonations particularly rolling the R's, and all the grand subtleties of the theatrical master. At the end of the movie he delivers a portion of a soliloquy from Prospero in The Tempest. This for me was like a spiritual experience, it was so sublime. Naturally, I hope that he wins although Christopher Plummer appears to the stern competition this year winning several awards in the runup including the Golden Globe.
When I left this movie I felt optimistic and relieved at finally seeing a good movie. Shortly afterwards all the best movies were released in time for an Oscar run including The Descendants, The Artist, Warhorse, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Hugo. So, if you want to be an Oscar contender release your movie in December.
Recently we have seen a trend in the Academy Awards toward real life characters with Marion Cotillard winning for portraying Edith Piaf, Helen Mirren for playing the queen, Colin Firth for playing a king, Christian Bale for playing an addict. Usually the character has some flaw or adversity to cope with, tragedy, a stutter, addiction. This year it's Alzheimers, addiction/neurosis and racial discrimination.
I loved this movie. I think you will enjoy it, and I hope this was helpful.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 11, 2012 10:18:27 PM PDT
L. Power, can't wait for this movie, especially now that I know Olivier is portrayed by Branagh ( I love this actor!) and I probably wouldn't have known this if not for your tight review. I also enjoyed all the Oscar information now after seeing what actually happened. I still have got to get around to seeing Hugo, I'm sure you have reviewed that. I'll take a look pretty soon. I was sorry that Williams did not win actually--even without seeing the movie, I know how much she stayed in character to play her and all she did for this role. CAN'T WAIT!!! Sheryl
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2012 11:05:02 PM PDT
I know you are a fan of Blue Valentine. I was rooting for Branagh to win.
Posted on Mar 13, 2012 1:52:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 13, 2012 2:10:34 AM PDT
L. P.--I must have (somehow) missed the part of the Oscars with Branagh's nomination, I don't get it--I thought I caught the entire program, he had a 'nod' and I didn't catch it? Now that is really odd, I love his acting. Him as Olivier is a performance I would NEVER want to miss-and do not intend to, as I cannot wait for this movie's release on DVD. I have pre-ordered it and am counting the days to view it. By the way, I loved your informative review. We all can count on you for great reviews, that's why I immediately knew that you had reviewed "Anonymous" right after I finished viewing it, I figured it would be 'up your alley'--I really liked that one. I can't get over Rhys Ifans (sp?) acting in that, he took me by complete surprise. Sheryl *Oh, yes I am a "Blue Valentine" fan, actually an anything 'Gosling' fan. I am also really starting to appreciate Michelle Williams more and more, saw her again in Gosling's "United States of Leland"--she's pretty great in that and I had overlooked her the first time around, shame on me!
Posted on Mar 15, 2012 12:11:31 AM PDT
L. Power--Um, wow. I just finished MWWM, and I am kinda blown away by a few different things; Kenneth Branagh, what a PERFORMANCE, I can certainly see why you were rooting for his win--I too agree with you there. I saw Plummer's role and wasn't 'blown away' like I was with Branagh's Olivier. Like I said, "Um, wow"--I think I may need to write! Sheryl
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 1:22:42 AM PDT
I have seen a number of Branaghs performances recently. Other than this my favorite one was Henry V
Posted on Mar 15, 2012 5:48:43 AM PDT
I can certainly see how Henry V would appeal to you in a BIG way. Gosh, I haven't visited that one in so many years, not since a college course in my schooling--I read it. I would love to see Branagh perform it as he's perfection with the Bard. I have seen him in a couple, and one with then wife, Emma Thompson. When it comes to Shakespeare, I know you are the scholar here. Thanks for the suggestion, that will take me an afternoon to watch a couple of times, I love to catch the nuances of the language. Sheryl
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