My Week with Marilyn

Director: Simon Curtis

Writers: Adrian Hodges, Colin Clark (books)

Stars: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh

It has been 50 years since Marilyn’s death, yet to this day you need only use her first name, or when doing a Google image search, one needs to only type “Ma” to find her name pop-up.  Michelle faced a daunting task playing the single most Iconic woman to ever hit the silver screen. It was clear that every note she sang, step she took, word she said, would be set in comparison to not only Marilyn, but to our perception of Marilyn.

The story begins with Colin Clark, a 20 something man explaining to his wealthy, highly driven parents, that he is leaving their English country estate to travel to London to be in the “Movie Business,” a decision that his father makes no secret that he hopes is just a passing phase.  Colin sits for all day for a week in the offices Sir Laurence Olivier’s production company in hopes of getting any job that will give him his start.

Finally, in part because of family connections as well as his persistence he lands the position of third assistant director on Sir Laurence Olivier’s newest. Colin quickly learns that his job is little more than a Glorified “Go-For”.

Sir Laurence Olivier is the greatest actor to ever take to the London stage, he and the actors he surrounds him self with are the consummate professionals. The Moment Marilyn arrives, with acting coach in tow, we understand the extreme clash that will be inevitable. Sir Laurence Olivier is confident in his abilities that have been honed by thousands of hours of hard work. Marilyn is filled with self-doubt she forgets lines make countless mistakes, but when she gets it right it’s magic.

I was stuck that the most challenging aspect of Michelle’s performance was that she was playing the part of a woman who in turn her self is simultaneously acting out multiple roles. She is the Sex Symbol to the world, wife to her husband (at the time on the story, Arthur Miller), She is a source of vast revenues to the studio and “Meal ticket” for a crowd of would-be-friends.

Marilyn find the young Colin to be maybe the only person she can trust, the one person she can be with and just be Norma Jean. It falls on Colin to move between Olivier’s need to get this picture completed and his true love for the vulnerable Marilyn.  It is him that recognize what others miss; that Marylyn is a great film star that wants to be an actress, and  Olivier is a great actor that want to be a film star.

Michelle artfully portrays a woman that desperately wants to please others, but is unable to please herself. The great tragic flaw of Marylyn Monroe was that she possessed every trait necessary to become the most famous, and loved actress of her day, yet none of skills or support needed to survive in that world

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