Film Review – My Week With Marilyn

If I had spent a week with Marilyn Monroe, chances are I would have written a book about it too, even if it was as uneventful as this. Why someone would then read that book and go, “this would make a great movie” is a mystery to me. Well, almost. The answer is rather obvious; Oscar.

Michelle Williams certainly has Marilyn Monroe’s voice, mannerisms and physicality down pat, but I was always aware that I was watching a performance. The film goes to great lengths to get across the fact that there’s a huge difference between off-screen Marilyn and on-screen Marilyn, but Williams’s performance does little to address that, other than spending most of the film being a bit morose and insecure- but she still retains the on-screen vocal inflections and mannerisms.
The rest of the cast do little more to improve matters, with Dominic Cooper popping up every now and again to tell someone off, Kenneth Branagh’s indistinguishable-accented-turn as Laurence Olivier (he wishes), Carson from Downton Abbey (for that is now the actor’s name) as a gruff, skeptical barman, and, most amusingly, Zoë Wannamaker as the most stereotypical Jewish New Yoiker imaginable (sic).
Fortunately, the only exception is the titular “me”, Eddie Redmayne. He plays things with a thoroughly convincing wide-eyed enthusiasm, clearly as amazed by her interest in him as we (and everybody else) are.
That is not to say there is nothing interesting here. The pace is sedate, rather than overly slow, and mostly maintains a pleasant tone, only hinting at the darker sides of Marilyn’s troubled life. But by the time it’s over, you can’t help but feel you haven’t really learned anything.

 

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