My Week With Marilyn

Directed By: Simon Curtis

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

When I think of Marilyn Monroe, I think of an iconic actress of the twentieth century, an eternal sex symbol, and a perpetual pill popper.  Monroe will forever be remembered as a star who was gone too soon, but people have forgotten that she was also a woman with immense influence.  She was very powerful in the sense that she could get the attention of any man in a room with her.  In Simon Curtis' My Week With Marilyn, viewers get a depiction of Monroe leveraging this influence on the young Colin Clark.

In 1957, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) comes to England to star in the movie The Prince and the Showgirl alongside the revered actor Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh).  Combining a superstar looking to grow into a talented actress and a great actor seeking to become a megastar inevitably brings lots of egos and headaches.  When one of these onscreen talents is also the director of the film, things get even more complicated.  Monroe has a lot of demands on set, and Olivier,the director, has very little patience for all that comes with having her in his film.  Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), the third assistant director and personal whipping boy for Olivier, gets a front row seat to all the chaos from having Monroe work with this great actor.  As tensions grow between the two stars, the 30 year-old Monroe turns to the 23 year-old Clark for attention.  The support Clark provides quickly becomes more than that as a romance blossoms between the two.  The young Clark doesn't quite understand the woman with whom he's dealing though.

This has definitely been the week to make movies about making movies.  First, Scorsese brought us Hugo.  Now, Curtis brings moviegoers My Week With Marilyn, which is a film about both making films and coping with superstardom. Throughout the picture, we get an intimate reenactment of what it was like to make a movie with arguably the greatest actor of the twentieth century and the most famous actress of the era.  While Curtis provides considerable attention to the filmmaking process, you can't deny that this film grapples with the troubles of notoriety.  It deals with Monroe's constant consumption of liquor and pills. It grapples with the loneliness of fame and how she was robbed of any sense of normalcy in her life.  Curtis also shows just how manipulative Monroe can be given her fame and fortune.

Michelle Williams, most famous for her role in Brokeback Mountain, may have just taken her career to new heights in My Week With Marilyn.  Her portrayal of Monroe truly captures the splendor of this timeless icon.  She brings that x factor to her performance that will captivate moviegoers of all ages.  This intangible factor helped Williams portray this larger-than-life star Monroe in all her glory and all her agony.  Whether handling an audience or popping pills and bottles, Williams gave a great performance.  Playing a big time actress has helped this former Dawson's Creek star to step up to the next level.

As great as Williams was as Monroe, some of the other actors and actresses were simply better, especially Dame Judi Dench.  Let's be real.  Judi Dench is no spring chicken.  She's acted on stage, on television, and in film.  She's done it all for more than half a century.  Hell, she got into the acting business the same year that The Prince and the Showgirl was made with Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier in their prime.  Whenever she was on screen as Dame Sybil Thorndike, she stole the scene.  With decades of experience, the ultra-talented Dench has a presence on screen that just can't be denied.

With My Week With Marilyn, Simon Curtis has put something really special together that will introduce a younger generation to the film legends of the past and renew interest in some classic films by both Monroe and Olivier. With great performances by Williams, Dench, and others, you will get lost in the film and forget a sense of time and space as you're transported back to the 1950s with an ice cold wine cooler in hand.  My Week With Marilyn gets a 0.03% rating.