My Week with Marilyn review

Simon Curtis
Michelle Williams
Eddie Redmayne
Kenneth Branagh
Rated: R

My Week with Marilyn follows the story of a young man named Colin (Redmayne). Colin is a major fan of the movies living in the 50s. His dream is to work on the set of major productions and he finally gets his chance when he gets to work for Sir Laurence Olivier (Branagh) for the film “The Prince and the Showgirl.”

The film is to star Oliver as well as the majorly famous Marilyn Monroe (Williams). However, upon her arrival to the production, Oliver finds Monroe very hard to work with. Tensions flare up and make the film hard to make at times, because of this, Colin tries to help calm things down with Marilyn who just happens to be one of his favorite on-screen performers. During this time he has a bit of an affair with the legendary actress.

The story of the film was my biggest problem with the film. The movie felt much like the 2009 flick “Invictus.” That film showed what rugby did for the nation of South Africa and had a great performance by Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. The problem with that movie is that we only got to see a small section of the story of Mandela, the majority of the film was detailed by something else which dragged it down despite the great acting job.

The exact same thing can be said about “My Week with Marilyn.” The story of Colin having a short, enchanting time with Marilyn Monroe not only seemed unbelievable, but also shorted the story of who Monroe really was.

It just seemed like an over hyped fantasy on Colin’s part. The film does go into a bit of the personal dilemmas that Monroe had however it was mainly focused on the story of what Colin was going through in the production of the film, which felt dull, especially when put up against just a piece of the story of Marilyn Monroe’s life.

As the legendary actress, Michelle Williams was absolutely fantastic. She was able to capture the mystique, charm and bits of depression of Monroe. Her performance elevated every scene in the film to a higher level. Another solid job was Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier, who was able to show the frustrations of working on the movie set well and had great interaction with Marilyn’s character.

The weakest link of the film though is Colin himself. His character just felt so bland and we never see a reason or connection that Marilyn has to connect with him. He never does anything overly special and in the end, he didn’t really have any major impact on anything. It’s not that the story is necessarily bad, it just never feels real or believable, which makes it harder for an audience to relate. Plus, I had a really hard time believing he was only 23.

The rest of the cast did fine though. Despite being a small part Emma Watson does well on screen and gives a fine performance. Judi Dench is also great and memorable portraying the actress Dame Sybil Thorndike and works very well with Williams’ Monroe.

The film is still directed fine and has nice editing. The dialogue is well written however the story itself falters. William’s portrayal of Monroe is great and she could have pulled off a great possible biopic however the plot of this short affair only captures a small sample of her life and the story of the person it’s with is not too exciting. Some really nice performances, however, it’s not enough to make up for the lack luster protagonist and the weak story. 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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