My week with Marilyn (Simon Curtis, 2011)

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My week with Marilyn, directed by Simon Curtis (2011).

Score: Charmingly mimetic.

I find it hard to believe that anyone feels indifference towards the figure of Marilyn Monroe. You might find her mesmerising, or her teetering walks and breathless voice you might find annoying, but the feeling is not probably indifference.

This movie seeks to explore the persona and the woman behind the persona of Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) by visiting the shooting of The prince and the showgirl at the height of her acting career, when she was striving to become a better actress and be taken seriously. Marilyn is mostly shown to the viewer through the eyes of Colin Clarke (Eddie Redmayne), a rookie third assistant to legendary actor Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), who becomes infatuated with the biggest star in the world.

Williams’ and Branagh’s resemblances with Monroe and Olivier are quite uncanny. The way Williams laughs, smiles, speaks and sings makes you almost believe Marilyn came back. Branagh is superb at mimicking Olivier’s speech patterns and mannierisms. Redmayne does a good job at being a sweetheart, and the only one I didn’t recognise right away was Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh.

If you are in the slightest interested in Marilyn Monroe as an actress you already know about her lateness and whimsical behaviour on set, her insecurities and dependence on her acting coach Lee Strasberg (transformed into Paula Strasberg and played by Zoë Wanamaker) and surprising difficulty with delivering her lines on the first take. The script does a good job at conveying this without becoming boring or silly, and as it goes on, it dwells more and more into what must have been to know Marilyn in private. The last sequences leave behind mediatic Marilyn and invent a close-up, vulnerable and insecure young woman on top of the world.

Short, nice and to the point, this movie is definitely worth watching.

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