My Week with Marilyn (2011) – USA
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Milton Greene: That’s what she does, she breaks hearts. She’ll break yours.
What made this movie so enjoyable are definitely the stunning impersonations by Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh as Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier respectively. If there are two performances along worthy of the price of admission, this is your movie. The petite yet filled with radiating screen presence ability of Williams showed a side of her not previously seen in her career resume. She is sexy yet extremely likable, flawed, yet romantic and beautiful yet pretty. In fact, it is a shame that she did not get an Oscar nod as not only did she made the character her own, but she made Marilyn come back to life. That is by no means an overstatement.
As usual Kenneth Branagh is a great character actor and as the legend of British cinema Sir Laurence Olivier, Branagh is imposing and totally a pleasure to view on the big screen. Likewise Williams gives the performance of a lifetime. From top to bottom, words cannot describe those moments, some fragile, some subtle, some expressive, some incredibly sexy and some just so extremely likable. Eddie Redmayne is most likely the weakest link in the film. The fact that his relationship with Marilyn is so central to the film, that it is all the more disappointing that he is unable to convince the audience in the most critical moments. It is not as if Redmayne is not given a chance, but he has a character to work with and perhaps could have displayed his emotions better. Another problem is the unbelievable romance between the two, as there is zero chemistry between the two. On the other hand, he does have clear chemistry with the scene stealing cameo from Emma Watson.
All in all, My Week with Marilyn is one of those movie events of the year that isn’t a great movie, but an experience that revokes the memories of cinematic greats. It goes back to one of the best quotes ever: “it doesn’t matter how long you live, what matters is the legacy that you live behind.” It is without question that Marilyn Monroe had that rare quality and aided by an illuminating Michelle Williams, it appears as though it is the 50s all over again. It reminds me of the scene where Collin Clark says: “It’s agony because he’s a great actor who wants to be a film star, and you’re a film star who wants to be a great actress. This film won’t help either of you.” Some people are just born like a star and natural to the screen, while others have to work harder to achieve the same thing. Monroe was one of a kind and definitely once in a generation occurrence, and as for Williams; she has certainly turned a lot of heads. This is a fine film, if only due to the performances….
Neo rates it 8/10