My Week with Marilyn was based on a couple of non-fiction books first published in the late 1990s. The Wife and I saw the film last Saturday at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, NY.
In 1956, Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) is directing and starring in the movie ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ in London. He hires American film icon Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) to costar with him. The 30-year-old MM, accompanied by her new, third husband, the playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), is a sensation to the crowds in England. But artistic differences make the filming frustratingly slow for the director, and stressful for the actress. Marilyn befriends the third assistant director, essentially gofer, 23-year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) and he becomes one of the few people she trusts, and ultimately has the title experience.
Thinking of the slender Williams as the voluptuous Monroe was not something I would have considered, but she pulls it off, in no small part, based on an interview I read in EW, of getting The Walk. Interestingly, at the beginning and end of the movie, largely removed from the storyline, Monroe/Williams performs a couple of songs, and she looks even more full-figured.
This was a slight, but sweet story of an actress who was instinctively good at her craft, but wanted to get more skilled, but on her own terms. It was also clear that “Marilyn Monroe” was a role she played, which made her extremely popular but also trapped her. I would be surprised if Michelle Williams was not Oscar-nominated as Best Actress.
Kenneth Branagh may also get a Best Supporting Actor nod as the frustrated director. I was tickled by this casting since both Olivier and Branaugh starred in and directed movie adaptations of Henry V, the Shakespeare play, in 1944 and 1989, respectively.
My Weekend With Marilyn is a surprisingly sweet, even somewhat chaste film, given the subject matter. I enjoyed it.