27 February, 2012
Yesterday afternoon I journeyed to the wonderfully vintage Hawthorne cinema at Balmoral to see My Week with Marilyn. It may surprise you to hear me say that I’m not a massive Marilyn fan. Of course I love her for what she contributed to the era and its style, but I’m not mad for her like some.
The movie tells the story of a young man desperate to break into the film industry. A whole lot of persistence and a stroke of luck land him a job on her film The Prince and The Showgirl. Charting his spiral of falling in love with Marilyn and her subsequent short-lived infatuation with him, the film focuses more on her erratic behaviour than the effects of the relationship on him.
Adapted from a book and journals kept by the young man during his week with her, the film ends quite abruptly with just a small by line about the fact that the man went on to become a successful producer however I would have liked more insight into his life and how his encounter with Marilyn went on to influence him.
I was interested to see the movie as I’d heard a lot of hype and good things about Michelle Williams’ performance. I have to say, the hype wasn’t wrong – she does a wonderful job! Unfortunately, that’s where most of the gushing ends for me as I was actually a bit disappointed in the film overall.
As you can imagine, I was very excited for the hair, make up and clothes aspect of the film but I found eye candy in that department extremely lacking. It was also a rather slow moving plot with no real major conflict or action, it just kind of meandered along.
Kenneth Branagh was also great as Laurence Olivier but his and Michelle’s performances were the only real stand outs for me. I was actually left wondering what the directors purpose for the film was, what he was trying to portray, make the audience feel.
It certainly captured that special spark she had on camera, despite having great difficulty with direction and remembering her lines. It might have taken 50 takes but when she got it right, she really knocked it out of the park. And THAT was what made her so magical, so alluring and so sought after despite her demands and unreliable reputation.
Whilst it was certainly an insight into the side of Marilyn that few saw, it painted her as quite an unlikeable person I feel. Whilst it certainly made you sympathise with her at times, it also made her seem like a hopeless actress and a very confused, disturbed and out of control girl.
Although it’s long been known that she wasn’t the easiest person to work with, I found myself disliking her for the way she treated people. For someone who didn’t want to be ‘Marilyn Monroe’, just Marilyn, she certainly behaved like the diva that ‘Marilyn Monroe’ had earned the reputation for.
Overall it was a bit disappointing and a bit of a non-event. It wasn’t particularly compelling and it was hard to feel toe emotional towards Marilyn because her behaviour was so unlikeable. I can't say I'd recommend it, particularly for the price of a movie ticket but if you're into Marilyn I'm sure it's worth a watch.