My Week with Marilyn ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
In 1956 Marilyn Monroe was at the peak of her movie stardom. She was thirty years old and married to her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller. In spite of her fame and all she had achieved, she was a deeply troubled and insecure woman. She traveled to England at this time to make a movie with Laurence Olivier that would eventually be called The Prince and the Showgirl. While in England, she became acquainted with a twenty-three-year-old production assistant named Colin Clark. The new movie, My Week with Marilyn, is based on Colin Clark’s memoir about Marilyn.
Michelle Williams gives a great performance as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. She will be remembered when Oscars are being handed out. She doesn’t just do a Marilyn impression, but shows the damaged person underneath the sex goddess persona. Marilyn knew as well as anybody that she wasn’t the person that people thought she was, the woman they saw on the screen. At one point in the movie, she says that as soon as people realize “she isn’t really Marilyn,” they abandon her. She isn’t emotionally equipped to live in the world in which she finds herself.
During the making of The Prince and the Showgirl, Marilyn latches on to young Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), in spite of the executives on the picture trying to keep them apart. She comes to rely on Colin to comfort her; she summons him in the night to come to her. Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Brannagh), Marilyn’s costar in the movie and also the director, finds her impossible to work with. She can’t remember—and doesn’t seem to grasp—the simplest direction or line of dialogue. But, as a character in the movie states, “when she gets it right, you can’t look at anybody else on the screen.” She has a magnetism and an appeal that can’t quite be explained or understood.
Young Colin falls in love with Marilyn, as it seems that most men do who come under her influence. At one point he asks her to leave the movie business behind and marry him, because he believes he’s the only person who really understands her, but he knows it’s impossible.
Fifty years after Marilyn’s premature death at age thirty-six, her legend lives on. She is the unique screen goddess who will be forever young. Anybody who has ever been drawn to her on the screen, for whatever reason, should enjoy seeing My Week with Marilyn.
Copyright © 2012 by Allen Kopp