Williams dazzles in "My Week with Marilyn"

By Carolyn Williams

Staff Writer

“My Week with Marilyn” is director Simon Curtis’s attempt, the latest in a line of many, to resurrect one of America’s most loved film actresses: Marilyn Monroe.

The film begins with Colin Clark’s (Eddie Redmayne) decision to “run away to the circus” by joining the British film industry. Fortunately for the young, handsome and affable Clark, his well-connected parents are friends of that cinematic power couple, Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Vivian Leigh (Julia Ormond). Clark almost immediately finds himself on the set of Olivier’s latest film, which would eventually come to be called “The Prince and the Showgirl.” His costar is none other than young American sexpot Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams).

Clark quickly endears himself to Monroe, and the two enjoy a sort of naïve romance, despite Marilyn’s newly-minted marriage to playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). Monroe leans heavily on this new friendship with Clark, especially as things go from bad to worse on set. Monroe’s acting method clashes terribly with the British actors’ indefatigable work ethic, and she quickly earns her costar’s ire. Surrounded by her handlers and disappointed colleagues, Monroe becomes more and more upset, as do the others on set. But, when she gets a scene right, the result is magic.

“My Week with Marilyn” is based on Clark’s autobiography of his time with Monroe, and even if the translated Monroe we see on screen is dominated by our stereotypes of her, she is still something quite remarkable. Williams, who has already won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture for this film, is also nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars on Feb. 26 and with good reason. Though physically not identical to Monroe, Williams portrays her as a work of art: endearing and at times infuriating, but always Marilyn.

“Michelle Williams flawlessly captures the innocence and charm of America’s most beloved sex symbol,” Liz Walker ’14 said.

Branagh is also up for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for his performance as Olivier, the acting powerhouse who spends much of this film caught between lust for and irritation with Marilyn. The film itself is enjoyable, although it does dabble in Marilyn’s unhappiness and alludes to her inevitable end.

“‘My Week with Marilyn’ is a fun, but at the same time heartbreaking film. Williams and Branagh really stand out throughout the movie, but the rest of the cast provides a strong backdrop. I would definitely see it again,” Kate Wilsterman ’14 said.

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