My Week With Marilyn

The Preeminent Showgirl of Yesteryear


21 November 2011| No Comments on My Week With Marilyn     by Sean Chavel


Michelle Williams doesn’t always look like her but mostly succeeds at filling in the shoes of the legendary Marilyn Monroe. My Week with Marilyn limits itself to being a self-contained snapshot of time set in 1956, while Marilyn was married to playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). Marilyn has travelled to England to shoot a movie with Sir Laurence Oliver (Kenneth Branagh, ripe as the fascist professional), who was known as a thespian first and movie star second. The movie shoot in question is the costume picture and comedy “The Prince and the Showgirl,” which has not held up in history as one of Marilyn’s best. The disaster of the shoot actually serves to make this story more interesting because the warts of her insecurity gleamed brighter during this fiasco.

The story is told through the reminiscing of Colin Clark (the superbly eager Eddie Redmayne), a rich British boy who gets his first movie set job as third assistant director. Olivier, who is directing the picture, is quickly agitated by Marilyn’s tardiness and further squashes her confidence as an actress (Marilyn gets more and more shaky on camera). Marilyn’s husband is around, but she confides more often with her personal liaison and acting couch (Geraldine Somerville). The idea that Marilyn needed a buffer for every script reading and every scene made Olivier’s blood boil.

When that didn’t work, Marilyn befriended the very polite Colin. Marilyn first teases him by letting Colin see her in the nude. There are gentle exchanges of flattery on set. Then some flirtations between them at Marilyn’s rented mansion (following her husband’s exit). Colin becomes the youngest guy that Marilyn has ever kissed, she says, this during some impromptu skinny-dipping. Colin is no longer into the costume dresser (Emma Watson) he was dating; he’s in love with Marilyn and is there for her, even when she’s in self-destruction mode.

I said before that Williams doesn’t always look like Marilyn. Of course, it’s near impossible to find someone to catch Marilyn’s uber-pin-up physique, and Williams is too petite to pull off the voluptuous Marilyn. When the superb cinematography and editing flatter this actress, that is when Williams is extraordinary with Marilyn. But you can only count on so many camera angles from one film to flatter Williams so much. But she’s got the velvety siren voice down pat.

99 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (1954); “Some Like It Hot” (1959); “The Misfits” (1961); “Norma Jean & Marilyn” (1996).


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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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