Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Week With Marilyn

Photo Courtesy of Jenny Hutton

The right answer is Marilyn Monroe. Remember the little quiz at the end of the third blog post? Had you stated, Morgan Freeman or Heidi Klum, that would have been correct, too. Well, sort of...

That said, I just got back from watching "My Week With Marilyn" (2011). It's been added to my list of "good movies seen so far in 2012".

The plot is fairly simple, and based on the two books, "The Prince, The Showgirl and Me: The Colin Clark Diaries" and "My Week With Marilyn", both by Colin Clark. The story is centered around Clark's (alleged) relationship with Monroe (Michelle Williams) during the filming of the movie "The Prince and the Showgirl" with (Sir) Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) in London, while Clark (Eddie Redmayne) was working as an assistant director (gofer, in layman's terms) on the set (confusing?). I think I've just set a new record for number of brackets used in one paragraph!

The focus of the movie is the relationship Monroe has with Clark, and of course, the rest of the people around her (in Monroe's world "the people around her" also includes Vivien Leigh played by Julia Ormond). They love, hate and worship her, equally. She's adorned by many, but feels loved by few. When offered the posiblity of giving it all up for the love of one, she chooses the spotlight and the stage instead, only to lament in a split second that it's all a facade; while loving her audience with the rhetorical question, "Should I be her?". Then acting and indulging the part.

And the duality of her nature shines through the entire feature. A copy of James Joyce's "Ulysses" - I assume Monroe was the on reading it and not Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), on her nightstand in one scene and her repartee's in other, suggests that she wasn't that dim that Marilyn. Not at all. At the same time she appears to be a helpless child, who often clings to her method acting coach and confidante, Paula Strasberg (Zoƫ Wanamaker) for re-assurance.

Also, I have to say that they did a perfect job on capturing Monroe's iconic hairstyle. In many screen performances depicting the life of Marilyn Monroe there's usually something dodgy going on with the hair. Think of Mekhi Pfeifer in "8 Mile". Okay, I'm exaggerating. But you get the drift. It's details like that, that keeps you reminded that you're watching an actress in a wig playing Marilyn. Monroe's hair was distinct in that: When she was younger it was curly, not as frizzy as Keri Russel's in her days of "Felicity" though, but Pre-Raphaelite. She was also a brunette. When she later changed her appearance to fit the fashion magazines big screen, it had an unmistakable quality to it, from the roots up.

The one critique that I'll give (Scott offers more on this subject); Marylin Monroe had that rubenesque figure where she looked like she was busting out of her clothes: She took up a lot of space. Whereas Williams' frame appears much smaller on screen. So the pin-up and imposing physical-presence factor, Monroe's sinequanone, is absent in some scenes. But, I like Williams. In my eyes she can do no wrong (on that note, another good flick is "Blue Valentine", starring Williams and the man of the hour, Ryan Gosling). Thus, I blame the director.

All in all, the movie is visually stunning with a wonderful cast. And Williams does a good job in capturing the nuances particular to Monroe's demeanor. Yet, the puzzle as to who Marilyn Monroe really was as a person, remains unsolved. The strength of the film.


  1. Your post just convinced me that I need to see this movie.
    Also, I awarded your blog because I love reading it.


  2. They look so much alike! I have to see the movie too! Keep it up!

  3. about the picture on my blog: I found the editorial on Tumblr. The only thing I know is that is has something to do with "War Horse". ;)

  4. I should have gotten the part as Marilyn rather than Michelle :)! Great post and how cute of you to put up a photo of me portraying Marilyn <3
    /Jenny Hutton

  5. I didn't do that one, but thank you so much anyway :) I saw this movie yesterday, and I loved it! x

  6. What a gorgeous photograph. J'adore Marilyn! :)

  7. Great review! I haven't seen this yet but I have been wanting to. =)

    The Urban Umbrella

  8. I really like the review :) I think I have to watch the movie!
    Marilyn was so adorable.

  9. I love this movie too!