FILM: My Week With Marilyn Review (**)

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Film, Reviews
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I was 8 years old the first time I saw Marilyn Monroe, an iconic picture of America’s sex symbol coyly pushing down the front of her white dress. But it wasn’t until a few years back that I realized she was more than a symbol; she was a darn good actress too. And that’s been her greatest tragedy, a projection of our misconceptions rather than a true person. In his new film, Simon Curtis looks to reveal and unearth Monroe when the camera stops rolling. I’m not so sure he does that.

My Week with Marilyn isn’t really about Marilyn Monroe at all. The film centers around a directorial assistant Colin Clark who in a Laurence Olivier production, not only receives unlimited access to Monroe, but unprecedented attention from her as well. Therefore, the character study and character growth doesn’t lie with the mystique of one of the most controversial and intriguing figures in the past century; the film is told through the eyes of an unknown, a somewhat boring and banal personality we’ve seen before — an innocent and determined young man who falls for the wrong woman.

It’s a shame because Michelle Williams plays the hell out of Monroe, mirroring her bashful giggle and childlike mannerisms. Williams, like Monroe, was never considered the ideal for a runway model. Without a slim waist or tiny bone structure, Monroe redefined “sex appeal” for an entire generation. And that’s what Williams dose here; she draws in the audience through an intoxicating laugh or pouting lips. But does Curtis or Williams guide us to another level of Monroe we’ve never seen before? No. We see glimpses of her drug abuse and wild romantic relationships, but nothing new or spectacular we couldn’t catch on The History Channel.

Simon Curtis’ background is that of the small screen, and that’s what My Week with Marilyn feels like…an underwhelming (though well-executed) TV-movie. The grandeur is gone, cookie-cutter slimming it down to a third-rate biopic that should not be on the silver screen, much less the Oscar discussion.

  1. […] in Blue Valentine last year, she takes on the role of Marilyn Monroe this year. And while I wasn’t a huge fan of the film or how the Monroe character was written, you can’t say anything negative about Williams’ […]

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