‘My Week With Marilyn’ Review: A Sloppy Attempt With a Brilliant Take on an Icon

Of all the pieces of Marilyn Monroe’s life and career, this one week spent in London is probably not the best choice to make a movie about. But My Week With Marilyn still manages to make things interesting enough.

However, this film would be nothing without its performances, particularly Michelle Williams. She portrays Monroe as a Hollywood starlet who both loves and loathes what she does. Williams gives her a much sadder edge than many are used to seeing. The act she puts on for the cameras is mostly an act, as she turns to her new companion smiling saying “should I be me?”. Williams abandons the angry performance we saw in last year’s Blue Valentine for this much more tender, passionate piece of acting.

The rest of the cast is pretty good too. Eddie Redmayne is a competent lead and does his job fairly well, even if the character himself seems a bit reserved (boringly so). Judi Dench and Emma Watson are both delightful in their small roles. It’s wonderful to see Watson doing a movie like this after the Harry Potter series. It was both brave of her and of the person in charge of casting. She pulls it off nicely and I look forward to seeing more of the post-Hermione Watson. Dominic Cooper is great too as he places Redmayne’s character in his shadow. But the only performance that can compete with Williams’ is Kenneth Branagh. His performance is actually quite shocking as he believably drifts between loving and loathing Marilyn just as much as she does herself.

Despite these great performances, My Week With Marilyn could have been a lot better. The script is pretty sloppy, and for a movie that tries to show the darker side of Monroe, it all feels pretty light. There should have been something darker here to send it over the edge and make it a truly great film. My Week With Marilyn still gets more right than it gets wrong though. Michelle Williams can expect some recognition as we head ever closer towards awards’ season. (*** out of four)

photo credit: http://rebeccawangentertainment.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/my-week-with-marilyn/

 

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