My Week With Marilyn 2011
Oh goody just what we need another biopic. This one is about the time that Marilyn Monroe went to England to make ‘The Prince and the Showgirl” (the working title was called “The Sleeping Prince”) that Laurence Olivier was directing and co-starring in. Some of us know the problems that erupted during the making of this movie between Monroe and Olivier and for this movie the misery is based on a book written by Colin Clark the son of the historian Kenneth Clark who as a young man was employed by Olivier (thank you daddy) as a third assistant director, which is better known as a go for. The young man dully played by Eddie Redmayne of course falls heads over heels for Marilyn who is portrayed by a valiant but over her head Michelle Williams. The two form a bond that helps Marilyn float on the very troubled waters that she finds herself in, most of which was her own fault. The film itself is as slow as an old person trying to cross Broadway and 86th street before the green light turns red, and all it did for me was to make me want to see an actual Monroe film. Williams kinda looks like Monroe at times, if you squint your eyes, and she tries her darnest to channel her without it becoming too much of an imitation, but Williams is not built like Monroe, nor does she make any attempt at her voice and I rarely thought wow she is really getting Monroe down. Also doing some channeling is the miscast Kenneth Branagh as Olivier, the very miscast Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh ( Viv deserved better than this) and a nearly invisible Dougray Scott as the unsympathetic Arthur Miller. The best things in the film are the recreated costumes that Marilyn wore for the film and the tangy work done by the wonderful Zoe Wannamaker as the wicked witch of the east Paula Strasberg, and the always brilliant Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike who comes to Marilyn’s rescue time and time again. Maybe a better film would have been My Week with Dame Sybil. Happily we have the brilliant performances left by Monroe, this icon of the 20th Century, this sex symbol to end all sex symbols, this great actress who during her brief lifetime was not considered anything but a broad, a dame, a slut a convenient lay to be used and then tossed away, but happily we have the films that prove them wrong.