PG Cooper: My Week With Marilyn Review

Posted: November 27, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: November 23rd, 2011

Running time: 101 minutes

Written by: Adrian Hodges

Based on: The memoirs “The Prince, The Showgirl and Me” and “My Week With Marilyn” by Colin Clark

Directed by: Simon Curtis

Starring: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, and Dominic Cooper

Marilyn Monroe is arguably the most famous actress of all time. She was the epitome of beauty and her films are still beloved by audiences around the world. Now she is the subject of a biopic where Michelle Williams is playing her. Biopics have become an easy path to Oscar nominations for actors in recent years, so is My Week With Marilyn a genuinely great film, or is it nothing more than a vehicle for Michelle Williams.

The film revolves around the making of the 1957 comedy The Prince and the Showgirl starring Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is the third assistant director. He’s a young man with a love for film. Through production he develops a strong relationship with Monroe who pulls him into her web. In addition to their affair, the film is plagued with problems and Olivier becomes increasingly annoyed with Monroe’s on set dramatics.

I’m not gonna beat around the bush, Michelle Williams is fantastic as Monroe. I will be shocked if she doesn’t get an Oscar nomination. From the moment she appears on screen, you’re captivated. Williams oozes sex appeal and you can totally see why Colin falls for her. Williams also plays the part with an air of mystery. You’re never entirely sure what Monroe’s intentions are. Is she really the lonely and confused little girl, or is she just leading everyone on? I should admit right now that I’ve never seen a Marilyn Monroe film, so I have no idea how accurate Williams was. But this isn’t a good performance because it’s a good imitation. It’s a good performance because Williams creates a mesmerizing character. You won’t be able to take your eyes off her.

Most of the supporting cast is great too. Kenneth Branagh really stood out as Laurence Olivier.  The only Olivier film I’ve seen is Spartacus, but like Williams, this isn’t a performance that I like because it’s a good imitation. You really feel Olivier’s frustrations and I found myself sympathizing more with him than anyone. He’s just a talented guy trying to do his job. Most of the cast is good, though they aren’t given a lot of screen time. Actresses Judi Dench and Emma Watson are both good in the film, but the two come in and out almost randomly. I found myself being particularly disappointed with how Watson’s subplot was solved.

The only major cast member I’ve neglected to mention is Eddie Redmayne is Colin Clark. I don’t know who to blame, but I really did not like this character. Perhaps I should blame Redmayne. After all, he didn’t have the charisma I thought the part needed. But I also think the problem lie in the script. Clark has the audience avatar. Through him, we experience the story. But since I didn’t like him, I had trouble getting too into the story. To me, he felt like kind of a tool. I didn’t like him or sympathize with him, and I only related to him on the most basic level. I don’t want to come off too harsh since Colin Clark is a real person, and one who is no longer with is. For all I know, Clark was the most amazing person in the world. But I did not like his depiction in this film.

I have mixed feelings about the story of the film. I do really like the way Monroe comes off as an enigma. Something of a black hole who sucks up and destroys what’s around her. But outside of that, this story isn’t very interesting. Nothing much really happens. None of the characters really go through any arcs, and nothing really noteworthy happens, apart from the affair Monroe and Clark have. Now you may find that fascinating, and on paper it is. But nothing really happens between them outside of having an affair.You could argue that the film is really about being a celebrity and the pressures of being a celebrity, and you would have a point. But I’ve seen that theme done before, and I’ve seen it done better.

My Week With Marilyn is a film about remarkable and interesting people in an unremarkable and uninteresting situation. I like the acting. Branagh was very good and Williams gives one of the strongest performances I’ve seen all year. Overall, My Week With Marilyn is a good film, but not a great one. I’ll recommend this film, but solely for the performances.

Rating: B

  1. Great review, I’m really looking forward to seeing this. Hopefully it will play at my theater sooner rather than later.

  2. You scooped me on this one man. Havent seen it yet.

    I do want to though, if just for Williams, as you say…

  3. good review. i think monroe was very pretty, but i didn’t think she was a good actress (i know i’ll get some sneers for this). of course, she was an icon. i think her story is interested, but i’ve seen it so many times. but i want to support this because of williams, who i think is great

  4. Danny says:

    I agree with you about Redmayne, he was abysmal in this and really brought the film down for me. I think the issue is that he’s supposed to be sweet and kind and ‘gets’ Marilyn’s issues, which he never ever seems perceptive enough to pull off. “My Week With Marilyn” sounds like it’d be about a passionate affair or quiet revelation, but it’s really just about how Colin Clark had a nice walk in the park one afternoon.

  5. Nice review and well written. Have a read at my review,

    What do you think?

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