This week I rented a movie titled My Week With Marilyn. This movie got quite a bit of critical praise last year especially for Michelle Williams who received an Oscar nomination for her work as Marilyn Monroe. Let me say now that I’m not a huge Monroe fan. This movie though is based on the diaries of a guy who was basically a gopher/assistant on the set of a movie she shot at Pinewood in England with Sir Laurence Olivier. The assistant fell for her and at least for a couple days, she for him. It is an interesting premise based on real life experiences behind the camera.
This movie does a good job of showing everything that was great about Marilyn Monroe and all the bad stuff people who worked with her had to put up with on the job. It is clear that she was in a lot of ways a fundamentally sad character who never came to terms with herself or rather the limitations the persona she projected carried.
The movie covers just one week but is entertaining. While Williams got most the praise for her work as Monroe, I have to say that I was equally impressed by Sir Kenneth Branagh who was cast as Sir Laurence Olivier, the famous actor who had cast Monroe in the film he was doing. Branagh nailed Olivier. The accent, pitch and tempo which was unique to Olivier, and the mannerisms. I was blown away by Branagh’s take on Olivier. And probably only I would notice such a thing but in a couple scenes I noticed that Branagh had even gotten Olivier’s upper lip movement … hard to explain but if you watch Olivier act you will notice that in certain speech inflections Olivier’s top lip flattens out. It is unusual to most people but Branagh caught it and put it in his performance.
This is a well-written movie. Very tight script. They used many of the very locales used by Olivier and Monroe for this movie so there is an authenticity there. The cast is brilliant from top to bottom. Look for Emma Watson (Harry Potter) as a spurned lover in a supporting role as well as Julia Ormond.
My Week With Marilyn is a romantic-drama with plenty of light notes that also serves to relate a piece of Hollywood history. It is out on DVD and well worth the rental fee.