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Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Week With Marilyn Review

My Week With Marilyn Review
2011, 99 minutes
Rated R for some language

My Week With Marilyn is the new film starring the always-incredible two-time Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine, Brokeback Mountain).  It focuses on a young man, Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne in a fantastic performance), who starts to work for Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh who will be a sure-fire Oscar nominee) on a new film starring Olivier and Marilyn Monroe (Williams who will absolutely be an Oscar nominee too).  

Story-wise, this film is conventional, but the acting more than makes up for it.  Though Redmayne, Branagh and cast are universally excellent, this is Williams' movie.  She may not look absolutely identical to Monroe (though she does look pretty close), but she nails everything else.  Monroe's light, suggestive walk and airy voice are all brought to light by Williams.  However, Williams' performance goes beyond the basic features of Monroe.  She really gets into the many sides of Monroe.  In this film, she explores the self-doubt that hung over Monroe's life and career.  Williams is like a keyhole allowing us to look into the dark recesses of the icon that she embodies.  Then, Williams effortlessly shows us the fun-loving, free-spirited, sexy side of Marilyn, the one that we all saw in the movies.  In one scene, she and Clark are touring Windsor palace and they are met by much of the staff at the bottom of the stairs.  Reveling in this, Marilyn asks Colin, "Should I be Marilyn?"  This shows that the Marilyn we saw in the movies was definitely not the real Marilyn.  After asking this, she waltzes down the stairs and acts like a star.  In another scene, she and Clark are frolicking through the woods and Marilyn skips around and flirts.  In this scene especially, I forgot that I was watching an actor.  Williams felt right as Monroe and is completely unrecognizable.  In short, she is sensational. 

Overall, My Week With Marilyn is a must-see film if only for Williams.  Williams is working her way up to be one of the greatest living actresses with two Oscar nominations in five years.  This is a great piece of entertainment that you will relish and enjoy.  No, it is not a deep piece of cinema, but it is light, fun, and offers great insight into one of the most attractive and intriguing icons of the 20th century.

-Joshua Handler

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