My Week With Marilyn is the new film from Simon Curtis starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, Kenneth Branagh as Sir Lawrence Olivier and Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark. The film is set on the set of 1956’s The Prince and The Showgirl and tells the story of how Colin Clark fell in love with as much the idea of Marilyn Monroe as Monroe herself. This film is treading along a similar line to countless Oscar contenders before it, a sleek, yet unobtrusive style with an intriguing as well as moving narrative. The film revolves around Clark and his work on set, but through him the audience are able to gain an insight into Monroe’s inner-demons and her turbulent relationship with fame.
By far the greatest success of this film is the acting; the performances are all of a high standard, but it is Branagh and Williams in particular who stand out the most. Williams’ portrayal of Monroe is harrowing; she depicts Monroe as frail, easily intimidated and above all vulnerable. However, she does so in a manner which is all-together quite amazing. Branagh delivers a superb performance; after all he’s playing the part of Sir Lawrence Olivier, a role which he’s been performing throughout his career in Hollywood as the go-to-man for Shakespeare adaptations — his performance is strong and refreshingly challenging. However, you always see Kenneth Branagh, which is not to say his performance is transparent, but lacks the jump between imitating and embodying. Whenever we see him angry, sarcastic, aroused, we are always seeing Kenneth Branagh and not Lawrence Olivier. When Williams is on screen she is Marilyn Monroe, and at the risk of sounding cliché, I literally forgot I was watching Williams and believed I was watching Monroe.
There is already a large amount of Oscar buzz surrounding this film. Williams it would seem is certainly going to receive a flurry of nominations come next year’s awards season. Branagh and possibly even Redmayne may even enjoy some of the awards attention as well. Awards hype aside though, I would desperately urge you to watch this film; it is powerful, touching and delivers a startlingly poignant viewing experience which will leave you hollowed out, mildly depressed and in awe of not only Michelle Williams, but Marilyn Monroe as well.