My Week with Marilyn (2011)

My Week with Marilyn (2011)
  • Time: 99 min
  • Genre: Biography | Drama
  • Director: Simon Curtis
  • Cast: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench, Emma Watson


Sir Laurence Olivier is making a movie in London. Young Colin Clark, an eager film student, wants to be involved and he navigates himself a job on the set. When film star Marilyn Monroe arrives for the start of shooting, all of London is excited to see the blonde bombshell, while Olivier is struggling to meet her many demands and acting ineptness, and Colin is intrigued by her. Colin’s intrigue is met when Marilyn invites him into her inner world where she struggles with her fame, her beauty and her desire to be a great actress.


  • She was and is one of the most famous American actresses in history. Our first scene shows her singing and dancing around a stage, and immediately her charm and glamour is exemplified through the screen. As the musical number ends, we find that we are seeing from the point of view from a young man named Colin Clark. For him, the cinema was the only place that he could escape to, and Sir Laurence Olivier had become his idol. Desperate to find his way into the film industry, he stubbornly stays in the offices of Olivier’s offices in London. After numerous days, Olivier finally agrees to hire Clark as a third assistant director for the actor’s new film the Prince and the Showgirl, starring Marilyn Monroe.
    After rigorous work in preparation, the time has come for filming to begin. When the stunning American actress steps onto the set, everyone is set aback by her, including the young Clark. In contrast to her on-screen persona, everyone working on the film soon realizes that Miss Monroe is actually quite nervous, and she is noticeably intimidated by the revered Sir Olivier and Dame Sybill Thorndike. Initially, the actress turns to her acting coach Paula Strassberg for consoling, but as time wears on, Monroe finds a confidante in Colin. In their time together, Colin learns that Marilyn is really quite depressed and has become tired of being such a big celebrity.

    In search of a movie that isn’t quite as dark or violent as my recent posts, I stumbled upon this film on the generous stream that Netflix provides. Although the cast list might not stand out to some, the acting is very well done. Michelle Williams stars as the beautiful Monroe, and she nails each aspect to the actress’ layered personality. Outside of the glam of Hollywood, Monroe is really a shy and nervous girl that can’t walk the streets without a crowd of infatuated fans surrounding her, and we can clearly see this thanks to Williams’ Oscar-nominated performance. In the male leading role of Colin Clark stands the young Eddie Redmayne. Previously seen in the 2012 film version of Les Miserables as Marius, Redmayne is just beginning to break out in Hollywood, and he is now receiving a large amount of Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Steven Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Perfectly capturing the boyish charm needed for the seemingly innocent Clark, Redmayne gives a great effort. In an excellently cast supporting role, Sir Lawrence Oliver is played by his modern contemporary, Sir Kenneth Branagh. Though known better to the general public as having roles in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Valkyrie, Branagh is most famous among critics for his Shakespeare projects, most notably for Henry V and Hamlet. In this film, he gives a great performance as Olivier, who is incredibly skeptical of Marilyn’s work ethic and his confidence in this project is fading. I found his performance to be the best of the entire film, and he received
    a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
    This true story is a wonderful portrayal of how being a huge Hollywood star really isn’t as glamorous as it appears to be. Just like Colin Clark, I greatly enjoy the art of cinematic art and am fascinated with the stars that grace the screens of each work. Although I’d prefer to write about the movie rather than make it myself, I share the love for filmmaking that exists in the characters.
    Outside of the characters, this film is relatively well done. The scenery in the British countryside and estates is quite beautiful, and the camera acts as a great complement to its subjects.
    I still cannot think of exactly what it was about the film, but there was something that simply did not feel right. The acting was great, the story was interesting, the themes were good, but I just didn’t get the feeling that I usually get when I watch a great movie.

  • There is only one Marilyn. So imagine the luck of a lifetime when Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) had an entire week to get up close and personal with the screen icon. Marilyn Monroe, as played by Michelle Williams in perhaps the year’s most striking performance by a lead actress, was infamously sexy, seductive, and flirtatious. At her prime in the 1950s as one of the world’s most recognizable faces, she was the ultra-desirable screen goddess, yet as this film will show, she was also the most human of them all.

    The film My Week with Marilyn chronicles Clark’s casual relationship with Monroe, from being the third assistant director to Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), who directs and stars with Monroe in a film called The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) – the other subject of this film, to someone Monroe relies heavily on for comfort and intimacy when things don’t work out for her. Well, you see Monroe travels to the UK to shoot the film, but she realizes acting is so much more precise and difficult under the direction of Olivier. She becomes depressed, irking her then husband, and then consequently seeking solace in Clark.

    Director Simon Curtis has made a film that quite authentically recreates the laidback yet self-driven nature of British filmmaking of the 1950s in the form of Pinewood Studios. But the artistry of period filmmaking takes a backseat once Williams makes her grand entrance. The talented actress, who was nominated for an Oscar for Blue Valentine (2010), gives a masterclass in imitating Monroe, both in dialogue and facial and body expression, capturing almost all the nuances with superb skill. She is surely due an Oscar with another incredible performance that admittedly may be the only reason filmgoers would pay to watch this film.

    This lovely and classy film has the requisite drama to sustain viewers’ interest, but its rather conventional approach to storytelling through the eyes of Clark still leaves much to be desired. In addition, there is not much of a plot to begin with, as the film meanders its way in and out of conflict situations, which I must say are at the very least arousing, humorous, and interesting only to see how they play out. My Week with Marilyn is not solely for fans of Monroe; it is a fresh look at the human side of an icon whom for much of her life wallowed in self-pity, longing to be truly loved.

    GRADE: B+ (8/10)

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