Movie Details

My Week with Marilyn

In the early summer of 1956, 23-year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) arrives from Oxford, eager and determined to make his way in the film business. He soon finds a job as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams), who was currently on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller. Nearly 40 years on, his diary accounts, "The Prince, the Showgirl and Me" was finally published, but one week was missing and some years later, they were published as "My Week with Marilyn". This is the story of the week where Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) leaves England, and Marilyn, desperate to get away from her Hollywood retinue and the pressures of work, runs off with Colin to experience the pleasures of an idyllic British life.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: M18
Release Date: 5 Jan 2012
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 1 Hour 41 Minutes
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Michelle Williams, Dominic Cooper
Director: Simon Curtis
Format: NA


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Writer: Elaine Ewe

Writer Ratings:
Effects: NA

Watch this if you liked: "Blue Valentine"

I went in with high expectations for "My Week With Marilyn" and unfortunately, these expectations were not met. Where did it go wrong? The story of "My Week With Marilyn" takes place in the 50s, where up-and-rising star Marilyn Monroe, finally arrives in England at the request of Sir Laurence Olivier to star with him in "The Prince And The Showgirl". However, Olivier has much more in mind than just sharing a screen with her. He wants to seduce her. Luckily for Marilyn, she has the aid of well-connected 23-year-old Colin Clark, a eager young man with grand dreams of working behind the silver screen. This is a story seen from his perspective, one mostly about his bond with the emotionally fragile screen goddess.

With a story that sounds perfectly sound on paper, you would think that it is the casting that went wrong. And you are not faulted on that, for Eddie Redmayne is definitely a poor choice of a protagonist. One can relate to him on his adoration and worship of Marilyn, for Williams does a marvellous job in bringing her to life, right down to the accent. She managed to nail the various facets of Monroe with great skill; from the needy little girl lost to the intoxicating seductress to the spontaneous actress. If Williams was missed out from the awards for her role in "Blue Valentine", her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe will be the one to bring her attention. Her co-stars, Branagh and Dench are equally marvellous, if not better, as the vain and uptight Olivier and warm Dame Sybil Thorndike respectively. One feels more like Olivier rather than Clark as the movie drags on, desire for Marilyn turning into indignation with the way the narrative plods on and Clark's narcissism in thinking that he could be the one for Marilyn.

And that is just what our protagonist is like, a medium for the fans to experience Marilyn in all her glory, which explains why Redmayne is never expected to do much, nor why Emma Watson is even cast at all as his flitting love interest who only had two scenes at most when drama could be milked for all its worth. That said, one is not exactly sure what scriptwriter Adrian Hodges and director Simon Curtis is aiming for with "My Week With Marilyn". Albeit entertaining at times, it presents otherwise unexplored themes such as Marilyn Monroe's insecure movie star persona who wanted to be a great actress, and Sir Laurence Olivier, who, despite his status as great actor, wanted to be a movie star. But in the end, nothing is accomplished, save the fact that everyone is exasperated by Marilyn's behaviour on set, but mesmerised by her performance in end result of the "The Prince And The Showgirl". It is an amazing feat to be sure, because judging by Curtis's direction; one would think that "The Prince And The Showgirl" would have bombed, considering that "My Week With Marilyn" only showed Marilyn's eccentricities. It does not answer why she is unprofessional at times or whether she could act well or not.

With that said, the cinematography of the film further reinforced the film's status as a montage or tribute to Marilyn. There are scenes after scenes of her smiling, laughing and crying with no binding explanation, and it all adds up to nothing much really, save for flashes of feeling and a bit of balloon-bursting keep it engaging. The only things done right are the costumes and soundtrack. The costumes are perfectly fitting for the period piece, and everyone was intricately dressed, without regard for how major or minor their role was, hence, an honourable mention must be given to Jill Taylor, the costume designer. Meanwhile, the soundtrack worked to invoke the romantic feeling of the old, especially during the scenes of Colin and Marilyn's countryside escapade. In addition, the juxtaposition of the opening and closing scenes of Marilyn singing is a flash of genius, as they are the ones where the most is said despite not having any dialogue. The stark contrast of the opening medley of "When Love Goes Wrong, Nothing Goes Right" and "Heat Wave" with "That Old Black Magic" in the ending showed clearly how most of us perceived Marilyn to be, and how we perceive her by the end of the movie.

In the end, "My Week With Marilyn" is just a fanciful, cinematic account of one man's time spent with Marilyn, but a beautiful illustration of a woman trapped in the confines of others' expectations and her own. It may not be the most thrilling movie of the year, but it is one worth-watching for its potential. We may not have been able to spend one week with Marilyn, but these 98 minutes would more than suffice.

Cinema Online, 17 January 2012
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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