Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fresh from cinema.. ..My Week with Marilyn

In case you read my last post you know by now that today I spent the day on my own in the city.. And I went to see two films in cinema today.. Here is the first one (the second will follow tomorrow..)

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (UK/USA, 2011) by Simon Curtis

In a nut-shell:

In 1956 Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh - great as usual..) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams mastering a tough challenge here) are going to star in a film directed by Sir Laurence and based on the successful play THE SLEEPING PRINCE. Hence Marilyn Monroe will stay for some time in Great Britain.
Due to their very different backgrounds (film vs. theatre ; classic acting vs. method acting ; fluff vs. Shakespeare etc.) and Marilyn's insecurity which leads to her being frequently too late at the set or appearing not prepared the atmosphere at the set is quite tense. 

~ arriving in London: Marilyn Monroe and husband Arthur Miller ~

Not helpful at all that Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormond - just wonderful) is very jealous esp. for she is struggling with her age  - and that Marilyn's new husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott - I loved him. And to be honest I did not recognize him.. maybe because of his glasses..) is inable to cope with Marilyn's "moods"/need for undivided love and attention. 

~ Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh
- before filming.. ~

There are few persons left Marilyn still trusts in: Paula Strasberg (as always a delight: Zoë Wanamaker) whose "additional directing" drives Sir Laurence mad ; Milton Greene (very good - and certainly one to keep an eye on: Dominic Cooper) the brilliant photographer and her good friend who is actually looking after her like a jealous watchdog and at last Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne - I am sorry, whenever I see him I feel like someone should give him something to calm down.. he looks so terribly nervous..) an aspiring film maker on his first job in film business as 3rd assistant to the director who of course fells for Marilyn at once - much to the chagrin of Lucy (Emma Watson - not very inspiring.. maybe it was the part..) who he dated first..

~ Paula Strasberg (love those shoes), Marilyn Monroe (in one of my favourite gowns ever) and Milton Greene on set~

If you are a fan of...

... films about films ...

... Judi Dench - honest: Sybil Thorndike must have been the sweetest lady ever! ...

... beautiful pictured landscapes, gardens etc. ...

... Michelle Williams - and esp. her bum (though I think here was at some points a little brush used in these pieces of film.. otherwise.. aww.. shucks.. escuse me.. I need to do some workout.. ASAP)...

... Kenneth Branagh quoting Shakespeare (e.g. THE TEMPEST) - hands down.. that man must breath Shakespeare where ever he goes.. - ...

... you might give this film a try.

~ smiling colleagues - well.. the camera is obviously on.. ~

Frankly - since I am an avid (or maybe hardcore) fan of Marilyn Monroe - caused mostly by the fact that I can relate to her so much in so many aspects - and THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL (1957) , that's how THE SLEEPING PRINCE was named when it was released, is one of my favourite films I did not expect too much from MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Actually I was not even sure whether I should watch this film or not. My expectations were disappointed in a way which makes me by now say: I am glad I finally watched this film.

Colin Clark - the real one ~
Of course as always when you watch a movie about real events and people you got to get rid of this "comparing attitude" - especially when the pictured persons are that well-known and documented as Marilyn  Monroe and Co. Of course Michelle Williams is not Marilyn Monroe. No one is - besides Marilyn Monroe. ( - and even she had trouble being Marilyn  Monroe..)
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is a film which does not just copy THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL - it tells a story for itself and is merely based on Colin Clark's diaries. It is for sure no collective photo album. If you got that into your head you will watch a very entertaining film with a marvellous cast which among others includes Dame Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike, Toby Jones as Arthur Jacobs and Georgie Glen as Rosamund Greenwood (I enjoyed her performance very much..).
You should also watch out for Geraldine Somerville (like Emma Watson esp. HARRY POTTER fans will know her face..) as Colin's mother and especially fans of TV series DOWNTON ABBEY will be pleased to see Jim Carter (Mr. Carson..) as a pub owner..
I was very delighted that Paula Strasberg this time did not appear like she was a mean black dragon sucking Marilyn Monroe's blood..

~ Susan Strasberg (don't you just adore Zoë Wanamaker's smirk??) 
and her star Marilyn Monroe ~

And: I liked Michelle Williams' performance as Marilyn Monroe - she really played a struggling actress and not just tried to give the best Marilyn imitation possible. I am glad about that because it could have easily happen to turn the whole film into a parody..

~ a little solace but not much more: Marilyn Monroe and Colin Clark ~

Especially how the light was used gave me lots of pleasure - the exuberance as much as the absence - it was wisely used in this film. I also loved how accurate the costumes and sets of THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL were re-made - well, they used the original soundstage.. The costumes of the whole film were great - well... I adore Marilyn Monroe's style...

~ re-build Pinewood studios.. Isn't that just stunning?? ~
Even the soundtrack is great - and just by the way: Lang Lang played piano for it.. 

Have a look:

So - if you're fine with letting your memories of the real people go for about 99 minutes you will watch a nice little film - and maybe now and then will catch a little manirism of Michelle Williams which reminds you of a certain blonde actress.. 

Thank you very much for listening!

Yours very well and truly



  1. What a wonderful post Irene. I can't wait to see this film. That pic of the Kenneth does look so much like Olivier. Amazing! And I did not know Judi was in it. Cool!

    1. Yes.. thought you would be delighted to see Judi Dench again.. Thank you for your kind words, Monty.


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