“My week with Marilyn” by Simon Curtis, 2011

A week with Marilyn

My week with Marilyn
A movie about Marilyn Monroe, even if it covers no more than one week of her life, sounds incredibly appealing. Anything related to Marilyn speaks of beauty, success and loneliness; a bittersweet blend of talent and failure in equal amounts that can be the perfect substance for a good drama. However, feeling during the first scenes the frustration of not having the real Marilyn on screen, I could easily understand not only why some well-known actresses had rejected the role, but also why so far, the story of this American icon has mainly been portrayed by low budget TV dramas.

Marilyn Monroe is incredibly appealing but also extremely challenging. How to enact someone that is known for being unique? How to emulate Marilyn’s distinctive magnetism when that’s not even something you can explain? Where to get that radiance she had around her even when she was depressed or had no make-up? Michelle Williams has been brave and has taken the challenge. Now nobody questions the excellent actress she is regardless of being smaller and less voluptuous than Marilyn. Despite not looking like her, Michelle got to convince us, little by little, with a word, with a smile, with a hand gesture… until we believed she was Marilyn. And then we were not safe anymore because Marilyn bears aching pain and suffering.

Different details about Marilyn’s life that can help understand her loneliness and despair are wisely spread throughout the movie; her mother’s mental illness, the lack of affection in her childhood, or her romantic relationships with Hollywood senior executives (“It’s the first time I kiss someone younger than me. There are so many old men in Hollywood…”).

Cinephiles will also enjoy having a look at the backstage of ‘The Prince and the showgirl’ to see legends like Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Brannagh) and Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormond) through the eyes of Colin Clark, a newcomer to the cinema made sweetly innocent and irresistibly charming by Eddie Redmayne. The young boy can’t help but falling for Marilyn’s attentions, regardless of the general warning, and his love story left us wondering how many other ‘weeks with Marilyn’ were enjoyed or how many other broken-hearts she left behind.

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