Monday, December 5, 2011

My Week with Marilyn

Get out! Put it back in! PUT IT BACK IN! We're reviewing My Week with Marilyn!

My Week with Marilyn is an interesting look into the life of one of the most famous starlets of all time.

Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) wants to work on movies, and his first production is with Sir Laurence Oliver (Kenneth Branagh) and the great Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). When Marilyn starts holding up production with her antics, Colin gets entwined with her and quickly falls in love. But is this love real, or is she just using him like she apparently did with all the guys before him?

This is not the kind of movie I would normally go to (you might label it as a chick flick), so others may find it more interesting than I did. The story, though true, isn't too exciting. Then again, true stories hardly are, in my opinion. Colin falls madly in love with Marilyn, even though he's got Emma Watson, and even though he has all the men telling him how they went through the same thing. Yeah, he's young and he has to learn. And who wouldn't want to go on a date with Marilyn Monroe? But really? You can't see the pattern? And you're giving up Emma Watson? Really? She's a witch for crying out loud! Come on, guy.

The best aspect of this is Marilyn Monroe herself. Williams does a fantastic job of getting her near perfect, from the look to the movement, to the dreamy, wavy attitude. You have to give her props. She's acting as Marilyn Monroe, acting badly. And that's what I really like about this movie: you can never tell when Marilyn is being herself, when she's showing a general interest, or when she's acting or pretending to be Marilyn Monroe. 

The movie shows Marilyn as a method actor, who can't play a part unless she really believes in who she's playing, thus postulating a theory: Maybe Marilyn was a method actor of Marilyn Monroe, just playing her own part so well, in fact, that she could no longer tell the difference between her acting and her true self. She's surrounded by people who constantly force her to be an icon, keeping her on a steady diet of different pills. There are only a few brief instances when you think Marilyn is really being herself, and even then, you question her motives.

Branagh playing Oliver follows the same theme and pulls it off perfectly. He's an actor, playing an actor who's acting. Oliver is a theatre actor who’s always making grand, dynamic speeches, so it's hard (often nearly impossible) to figure out when he's being genuine with his emotions and when he's just being overly dramatic. I think that's a nice theme. If all the world's a stage and everyone an actor, how do we know when we're being ourselves and when we're acting as what we think we should be or as what others expect of us?

Other than that, it's a sappy love story with some half-naked Marilyn Monroe and handsome young guys with British accents...and Emma Watson. So, y'know, fun for the whole family.

THE GOOD: Interesting premise, Branagh as Oliver, Williams as Monroe, Emma Watson...and half-naked Marilyn.

THE BAD: Sappy, love drama is kind of a bore if you don't like that.

OVERALL: Would only recommend it to hardcore Marilyn Monroe fans and lovers of sappy romances.

ONE SCENE METAPHOR: Marilyn and Colin ditch the set to have a play date in the countryside. It's hard to tell whether she's actually enjoying herself with him or if she's just putting on a show because she likes the way he looks at her. Either way, he laps it up in awe, in love like all the men before him.

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