Thursday, 1 December 2011

My Week With Marilyn: A Cinematic Delight

My Week With Marilyn is a true account of the week when 23-year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) worked on a Laurence Olivier picture back in the 1950s and got to not only meet Marilyn Monroe but fall in love with her. Monroe, played here in the performance of her career by Michelle Williams, was a demanding star - turning up late to set, fluffing her lines and always insisting on an entourage. But according to Clark's diaries, there was much more to the woman than met the eye.

A staggeringly good cinematic debut for Director Simon Curtis, this film is a delectable treat of 50s style close ups, pouts and wiggles that Williams has mastered - as seen through the eyes of both her young admirer and her rather older, and slightly more envious admirer Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). With a supporting cast of Dougray Scott as Monroe's husband Arthur Miller, Dame Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh and other stars including Emma Watson, Zoe Wanamaker, Dominic Cooper and even a small part for Derek Jacobi, the film is a veritable who's who of acting class.

The film's setting is stunning, from the city shops to the rural houses and gorgeous 1950s cars. Shots of the sun shimmering through Autumn leaves just add to the majesty of Monroe herself. The always entertaining American vs British ideals and customs just adds to the chaos and humour of it all. 

At its heart though is a gorgeous tale of first love as the young Colin finds himself completely taken in by Monroe. She manages to be both fragile and strong in a way that must be seen to be believed. She needs love and validation all the time and never seems happy with herself, but she also loves being Marilyn Monroe and you see that she cannot even fathom leaving Hollywood behind. Knowing how her life eventually pans out just makes this all the more tragic. You don't even realise how "herself" she is being with Colin in the film until fans ask for her autograph and she turns it on. "Shall I be her?" she asks Colin. And the transformation into Monroe takes place before your very eyes.

The only niggling thing for me was the bizarre accents of some of the cast but when you're led by Branagh, Williams and BAFTA Rising Star Nominee Redmayne, the niggling things fall to the wayside.

My Week With Marilyn takes you back to all the exquisite joy and utter heartbreak of first loves. Because after all, anyone who recalls their first love with affection saw them as Colin sees Marilyn Monroe, even if they weren't the most famous face in the world.

An absolute delight. Just like Monroe herself, when Williams is on screen it is impossible to look away.

4.5/5 FOBLES

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