Follow Us on Twitter

My Week With Marilyn - Review

My Week With Marilyn

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE enigma that remains Marilyn Monroe is exposed to fascinating effect in Simon Curtis’ My Week With Marilyn.

Based on the real-life experiences of 3rd ADR Colin Clark while filming The Prince & The Showgirl, the film recounts the difficult on-set relationship between Monroe, desperate to be taken seriously as an actress, and Sir Laurence Olivier while completing the film in England in 1956 (at the peak of both their fame).

It also examines the unlikely relationship that Clark enjoyed with her, which while flirtatious also afforded the young and impressionable aspiring filmmaker to get a glimpse behind the celebrity at the vulnerable Norma Jean.

Curtis’ film, his debut feature, is notable for several reasons, not least of which are the trio of central performances from Michelle Williams (Monroe), Kenneth Branagh (Sir Laurence) and Eddie Redmayne (Clark).

It also captures a sense of period well while offering fascinating behind-the-scenes insights without answering any definitive questions about the magic or mischief that seemed to accompany Monroe.

It’s also, by its director’s own admission, a love letter to making movies that exposes the agony and ecstasy along the way.

There are flaws, almost inevitably, moments that feel more small screen than big, and which expose Curtis’ background on shows like Cranford, as well as occasions when the script lacks insight or penetration.

Some of the support is also too starry for it’s own good, sometimes detracting from the main trio (Emma Watson, especially) or feeling as though it’s being under-used (Dame Judi Dench, Dougray Scott, Toby Jones).

But in the main this is hugely enjoyable and buoyed by the energy of its performances.

Williams is, by turns, luminous, playful, manipulative and irritating, wearing her insecurities and neuroses for all to see yet retaining that charm that accompanied the public persona of Monroe.

Branagh, meanwhile, is excellent at tapping into the ego and charisma, not to mention the growing frustration, of Olivier in a part that many will feel he was born to play (given the comparisons often made between them).

And Redmayne completes the trio well, effortlessly channelling the wide-eyed wonder of a young man hopelessly seduced by all things Monroe with a naive and growing arrogance that stemmed from falling under her spell.

Put together, their interplay coupled with Curtis’ mostly bright direction, makes this a week that’s worth investing just over 90 minutes in!

Certificate: 15
Running time: 95mins
UK Release Date: November 25, 2011