Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh
Director: Simon Curtis
Running Time: 101 mins
My Week With Marilyn is a British film about the true story of a young man with an ambition to work in the film industry who, after getting a job on Laurence Olivier’s The Prince and The Showgirl, observes the enigma that is the world’s most glamorous woman: Marilyn Monroe.
There’s always something a little extra special about movies that take you behind the camera. In the case of My Week With Marilyn, we get a fascinating insight into the true persona of one of history’s cinematic icons, as well as a pleasant and tender story surrounding a young, idealistic man being thrown into this supposed world of glamour. Directed beautifully, and with excellent dialogue from start to finish, this is an absolutely wonderful and hugely captivating watch.
I suppose the most striking thing about this film is that it’s all true. Based on the memoirs of Colin Clark, it’s an incredible tale of a nobody walking among the titans of Classic Hollywood, and playing an instrumental role in their lives. As an individual, he’s a perfect protagonist, thanks to a likable performance from Eddie Redmayne, and excellent directing and writing to make it so easy for us to see the whole story through his eyes, but what’s most fascinating about the film is his various relationships with all of these huge stars.
Watching him school Laurence Olivier on his temperament and get one over on stuck-up American cinema executives and crew is great, particularly for anyone who’s ever dreamed of being in the movie business, but the real focus of the story is of course the time he spends with Marilyn Monroe.
What the film does very cleverly from the start is give Marilyn Monroe a very ambiguous character. There’s nothing sinister in that, but it does mean that as Clark grows closer to her, we’re able to unpick the enigma of someone who we thought we knew so well from the big screen. The film is very clear about the difference between being in front of and behind the camera, something relevant to all the personalities, but mostly so with Marilyn Monroe.
So, apart from the dreamlike situation of actually walking among all these titans of cinema, the film is far more interesting because of its depiction of a complex personality. Michelle Williams’ performance as Monroe is excellent, giving a stark contrast between the Marilyn Monroe we know from the big screen, and the troubled truth off camera, something that’s absolutely fascinating to follow from start to finish.
Finally, My Week With Marilyn is also a great film simply because it’s so pleasant to watch. There is a lot of drama about, but it’s never presented in a melodramatic way as you may expect. When things are more serious, the film slows down and takes its time, allowing you too to take your time in processing what’s really going on.
However, so much of the film is pleasant simply because of its atmosphere. Director Simon Curtis does a wonderful job at bringing to life all sorts of Hollywood personalities, whilst also giving this film a unique and incredibly tender atmosphere, something that goes a long way to making the growing bond between Marilyn Monroe and Colin Clark all the more engrossing.
Overall, I thought that this was an absolutely wonderful film. It’s a captivating and impressive true story brought to life brilliantly thanks to excellent directing, brilliant performances and an ingenious script that gives you one of the best behind-the-scenes insights to the movie world you’ve ever seen, and that’s why My Week With Marilyn gets a 8.0 from me.