Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Week with Marylin

Today I saw My Week with Marylin, starring Michelle Williams and Eddie Redmayne.

Colin Clark (Redmayne) is a starstruck twentysomething who will do anything to work in the movie business. Sir Lawrence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) is beginning production on a new film starring Marylin Monroe (Williams). Colin is in the right place at the right time and scores himself a job as a 3rd director, which (as is repeated ad nauseum in the film) is basically an errand runner.

We are shown the fanfare when Marylin arrives in England as a newlywed (in her third marriage). We are shown how she is babysat around the clock by various handlers with various purposes. We see immediately that Marylin is a very unhappy, high maintenance woman.

But that doesn't stop Colin from developing a debilitating crush on her like many of the men of his time.

Colin's low-on-the-totem-pole role and polite nature make him attractive to the Hollywood starlet, and she soon begins requesting his presence at the home where she's staying for the duration of the film shoot.

If she wants to talk, he talks to her; if she wants to be held, he holds her. All the while we can see she is about to chew him up and spit him out.

But it's hard to hate a woman so desperate to be loved, no matter how much of a pain in the ass she turns out to be. Colin doesn't seem to resent her for using him, so why should we?

The film does a good job of conveying her circumstances, and Williams nails her mannerisms and speaking rhythms. Redmayne is a believable lost-puppy-in-love and all of the supporting cast does fine too. But for a movie so predictable, the story doesn't move very fast.

Also annoying is the padding they have on Williams to create the illusion of Monroe's curves. Williams is anything but voluptuous, and anytime they have her moving seductively, it looks like a teenager who has padded her bra acting out in front of a mirror. Williams face is too thin to be convincingly attached to the allegedly curvy body, and the nude scenes don't come close to showing a 140 lb. woman (that was the real Marylin's last reported weight).

All in all, this true tale plays out for what it is: one man's favorite story to tell, though he doesn't come out looking particularly smart or better for it.


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