Today: February 28, 2024
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My Week With Marilyn

The rationale behind the gossip rags and websites

The rationale behind
the gossip rags and websites of this world is to gain an allegedly exclusive
look into the flaws and failings of the seemingly untouchable famous.

The golden era of the 50s didn’t have any real mainstream
equivalent to Heat but it did have its ultimate star in Marilyn Monroe and her troubles and woes were, in time, to be laid
as despairingly bare as the latest reality TV feud.

The book My Weekend With Marilyn carefully documents a
fleeting glance into the look of a Hollywood’s icon’s personal affairs and they
are not nearly as pretty as the exterior suggests. The difference with Marilyn
Monroe is that she was the first hot mess. But, unlike the trashy scandals of
today’s “celebrities,” Monroe’s persona in the public eye made her talented and
above all, timeless.

Simon Curtis
film adaptation of the book sees the actress travel to the English countryside
to play alongside Laurence Olivier (Branagh)
in a production of The Prince and The Showgirl, an event that would expose her
charm and flaws to the eyes of the film’s crew, especially to third assistant
director Colin Clarke, whose experiences with Monroe later became the book.

The World’s Greatest Sex Symbol was never going to be an easy
role to fill and Michelle Williams
has taken just the right steps to earn it, with awards buzz humming just below
the surface of her career from last year’s Blue
Valentine
to critical hits Meek’s
Cutoff
and Wendy and Lucy to
notable supporting roles in Shutter
Island
and Brokeback Mountain.

Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine was ten years in the making
and took dedication from Williams and co-star Ryan Gosling, leaving no doubt how committed the actress would be
when getting under Monroe’s skin. Every wiggle and pose is impressively
reflective of the star’s public act, summarising effectively what all the fuss
was about during her time in the spotlight. Her personal failings are equally
captivating if a little drawn out, highlighting the heavy price of fame in the
name of self-sacrifice.

With the emphasis relying heavily on Williams the supporting
cast falls a little short, particularly the wide-eyed Eddie Redmayne in the role of Curtis himself. Filling the position
of a doting pillar in Monroe’s chaotic lifestyle reasonably, the performance
itself fails to portray anything shiny to catch the eye of a star. Branagh and Dench make for comfortable viewing as
signature English darlings and Zöe
Wanamaker
’s mentor to Monroe is pleasing enough but all are dangerously
underplayed and save for the odd monologue from Olivier are somewhat hushed
into the shadows.

The settings, cinematography and costumes are beautifully
representative of a British period piece and Curtis ravishes the genre, using
dry one-liners and coy euphemisms to keep the tone frothy. With a short-sold supporting
cast and a concluding voiceover from Redmayne that makes one want to be sick in
one’s mouth, there are few elements of My Week With Marilyn that beg attention.
But if you’re looking for an Oscar-worthy performance you’re in for a treat;
Williams impeccable attention to detail and hard work will surely earn her a
place in the leading role category.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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