Plot: Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier's, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during production of The Prince and the Showgirl.
Director: Simon Curtis
Writers: Adrian Hodges, Colin Clark (books)
Stars: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh
"What it must be like to be the most famous woman in the world?"
"My Week with Marilyn" is a dull movie with very good performance, but apart from Michelle Williams's work there is really not much to admire here. Marilyn Monroe's life - and death - are the things that fascinate people to this day. Out of all the events in her life Simon Curtis chose her time during shooting of "The Prince and the Showgirl" to be the subject of his film. While the movie shows many interesting events, its the storytelling - from the perspective of a young man who desperately wants to be a part of a movie business - is one of its biggest problems.
Colin is a rich boy who loves films - all he wants is to get inside this fascinating world of motion pictures and because of his parents' connections and money he gets a job as a third assistant to the director in Laurence Olivier's movie studio. The problem is that Colin is the dullest character in the film yet he is the main hero here, not Monroe, not Olivier, not Olivier's wife - fascinating Vivien Leigh.
Whenever we see events in Colin's life the movie is at its worst - not even charming supporting characters played by lovely Judi Dench and the brightest of Harry Potter's young stars Emma Watson - can make the scenes enjoyable. What makes matters worse is that Colin is not interesting nor especially likable and Redmayne who portrays him has absolutely no on screen presence or charisma. So during those scenes we eagerly expect Branagh's Olivier and especially Williams's Monroe to enter the frame.
Williams's has this amazing luminous shine about her - she is delicate, subtle and lovable. While real Monroe was certainly more beautiful, Williams gets everything right - from her seductive gestures through her beautiful smile to her sexy voice. She is able to create amazing performance despite poor script and quite dull story. There are plenty of scenes here that show Monroe's issues - the fact she was horribly insecure and used people around her, unknowingly, because she felt better when they told her how amazing she is and of course - her pill addiction which ultimately led her to her death. In a sense Monroe was poisoned by people's words - despite being completely adored all around the world, her dream was to become great actress, but because she was so fragile she was unable to find the strength and passion within her to become something more than lovable beauty who dances in sexy way and charms everyone by playing silly, pretty girls.
"My week with Marilyn" has impressive cast but most of the actors is horribly underused - Dench is doing what she can with her character, the only person who actually tries to lift Marilyn's spirit when nobody believes in her on the set. Vivian Leigh's character is barely even in the movie, which is a big shame. She is played by lovely Julia Ormond who manages to make memorable appearance out of - virtually - nothing. And then there is Branagh who is fantastic as Laurence Olivier - he never fades under Williams's glow and he brings a lot of wit and liveliness to a lifeless film.
The movie has quite skill full editing - particularly in the scenes where Monroe is surrounded by her adoring fans and photographers eager to take pictures of her. The hysteria that dwells within them and the eventual fear that Monroe feels is captured here in a splendid way. The cinematography is quite unexceptional, apart from few moments - mostly the ones where we see Marilyn performing on the set. There is also a lovely score, which while not one of the best from last year, manages to create nice, subtle accompaniment to Williams's delicate work. The best technical aspect of the movie are set pieces and costumes that truly transport us back in time.