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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Michelle Williams
Eddie Redmayne
Kenneth Branagh
Judi Dench
Dominic Cooper
Emma Watson
Julia Ormond.
Directors
Simon Curtis.
Screenwriters
Adrian Hodges.
Running Time
98 minutes

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My Week With Marilyn
The Seven Days Itch


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Plot
In 1956, Marilyn Monroe (Williams) arrives in England to star with Sir Laurence Olivier (Branagh) in The Prince And The Showgirl. Well-connected 23-year-old Colin Clark (Redmayne) gets a job as a production assistant, witnesses the clash of titanic egos and forms a brief intimacy with the emotionally fragile screen goddess.


Review
My Week With Marilyn
The ‘my week’ chronicler in Simon Curtis’ entertaining ‘no business like show’ tale observes that Marilyn Monroe was a movie star who wanted to be a great actress, and Sir Laurence Olivier was a great actor who wanted to be a movie star. He ruefully concludes that The Prince And The Showgirl, a lack-much-lustre adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s comedy The Sleeping Prince, would serve neither’s purpose.

The hype around the film of the filming — scripted by Adrian Hodges from two memoirs by Clark, the first a journal of the shoot and the second a probably highly fanciful account of his alleged idyll with Monroe — centres on Michelle Williams’ impersonation. Williams pretty much nails the three faces of Marilyn in popular culture: needy little girl lost, intoxicating sexpot and spontaneous actress. Marilyn’s indefinable magic proves more elusive, but Williams does a nice job shedding her own mannerisms to channel Marilyn’s. Eddie Redmayne is endearingly callow as the adoring Clark, his enchantment with Marilyn making their flight from the uptight Brit contingent and hangers-on a chaste, childlike escapade.

Essentially this is an extended anecdote in which Kenneth Branagh steals the show, priceless as thespian and director Olivier, vain and anxious, his desire for Marilyn turned to hot indignation with her chronic insecurities keeping troupers like Dame Sybil Thorndike (a warm Judi Dench) waiting around for hours for Marilyn to put in an appearance and do a spot of acting. Whenever she does emerge she is accompanied by her Method mentor Paula Strasberg (Zoë Wanamaker), whose coaching from the sidelines cranks up Olivier’s rage to incandescent.

A score of distinguished British actors flit through as Olde English all-sorts while others — Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones — oblige as loudmouth Yanks in the Hollywood parade passing through. Emma Watson gets a look in as the wardrobe assistant Colin makes a play for until he is distracted by Marilyn’s crises, crack-ups and uninhibited charms. It all adds up to nothing much really, but flashes of feeling and a bit of balloon-bursting keep it engaging.


Verdict
At moments hilarious and others touching, it's a sweet, slight affair, more pretty pageant than pithy biographical drama. Expect awards nominations to stack up for Williams and Branagh.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for My Week With Marilyn
Empire Star Rating

Nice

Well paced, well acted, nice light entertainment. Definitely effective. Not sure if It was Williams or Marilyn, but either way you cant help but be seduced on screen. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Samurai7 at 08:04, 10 January 2014 | Report This Post


RE:

A gem of a film,highly recommended! ... More

Posted by theEqualiser at 19:02, 02 January 2012 | Report This Post


Saw this yesterday and am so glad I didn't 'wait for the dvd' as it was not only a great film but the period detail alone made it worth the big screen visit. Michelle williams had a thankless task playing Marilyn and once I got over the voice I really enjoyed and believed her performance. As an ex acting student I also lapped up the conflicts between methods and actors and loved seeing so many bona fide actors in one subtle and touching drama. Eddie Raymande may not have the flashiest role ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Taizy at 23:57, 29 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Oscar friendly (and worthy) fayre

A perfect little film, I thought. I could actually sit through it again. ... More

Posted by moehat at 20:39, 22 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Oscar friendly (and worthy) fayre

Colin Clark falls in love with the movies as a child and as a young man is willing to wait…and wait…and wait outside an office until he finally secures a job working in the film industry.  After carrying out some favours unpaid, he gets a job working on the British set of nce And The Showgirl ewood Studios.  The movie, which its star is also directing, is intended to revive the career of Laurence Olivier while raise the profile of Marilyn Monroe, the greatest star of the star who... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 08:38, 03 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Oscar friendly (and worthy) fayre

I thought Branagh was brilliant in this - some of his bitchy little asides were funny as fuck. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 01:08, 01 December 2011 | Report This Post


Oscar friendly (and worthy) fayre

For anyone interested in Marilyn Monroe, or the politics of the acting/film making fraternity - then this is a must. Beautifully acted by Michelle Williams, and so much more than just a parody - she really injects a sense of what it must have been like to be Marilyn, although I dread to think how this fragile actress would have coped with today's intrusive society. A great cast rounds out a thoroughly entertaining 1 and 40 minutes, and heralds the time of the year when we get great performan... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Michael Dovey at 13:43, 30 November 2011 | Report This Post


Give The Girl An Oscar

Michelle Williams was brilliant in this I actually believed I was watching Marilyn Monroe it wasn't just an impression it was so much more it was great acting. And now I feel for Marilyn she was messed up big time. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 16:43, 29 November 2011 | Report This Post


Best Picture contenders are a bit thin on the ground this year

This just shows how rare a Marilyn Monroe is. Williams is undeniably a beautiful girl and a talented actress, but she doesn't have Marilyn's sex appeal. This is partly because she doesn't have Marilyn's extraordinary figure. It is also due in part to the fact that Marilyn is one of the most famous examples of somone suffering from 'arrested development', due to her very troubled childhood. This is part of what makes her difficult to emulate. Williams' comes the closest I've ever seen though... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cameron1975Williams at 10:46, 25 November 2011 | Report This Post



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