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Saturday, April 14, 2012

"My Week with Marilyn", being seduced by a myth

My Week with Marilyn

If Marylin Monroe was really such a star, icon, celebrity, myth, (add your own here) etc., she deserves a much much better film than this one. Even the brilliant performances of Michelle Williams and Kennet Branagh cannot save "My Week with Marylin" from being a very flat, seriously unsubstantial movie.

I have read several reviews and opinions criticising Michelle Williams's cast as Marilyn. Many silly arguments of her not being "fleshy enough" (comparisons of breasts and bottoms included), "not radiant enough" (is that supposed to mean anything?), or not having the "bigger-than-life-aura" she had. This sort of statements are enormously interesting for a sociological study, as they reveal the amount of damage "the creation of myths" has had in society, in particular the American (think of Elvis, Sinatra, JFK, Michael Jackson). But they are completely ridiculous if we are really trying to review this film, with people talking about Marilyn as if they really met her and knew how she really was (physically and personally). Seriously people, we all know her thanks to her movies (which I remember you aren't real).

No, the issue in "My Week with Marilyn" is not Michelle Williams. On the contrary, she, together with Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier, plus the secondary role of Judi Dench as Dame Sybil, are the only remarkable of the film. Director Simon Curtis has to be so grateful to Williams and co. They simply save his movie from being a disaster. But even their performances cannot help the occasional (and recurrent) feeling we are watching a luxurious but empty TV movie. There's not a lot of interest on the main plot following Colin Clark's platonic affair, played by Eddie Redmanyne, with the "blonde myth". The film-within-the-film sub-plot, that could have been much more attractive is only exploited as a mere context, and the rest of secondary actors are unused resources.

We get the premise of the film, really. This is not a film on Marilyn, but one about being seduced by Marilyn, by then already an unparalleled a myth. But with such a premise then, why is Curtis so scared to proposing something new to us? He only offers us a bunch of flat screen recreations of what's supposed to be the real-life of celebrities while they gathered in order to make a movie, the lightweight comedy "The Prince and the Showgirl", filmed in the UK in 1956. It is slick, way too polished (unrealistically polished) and very superficial. There's zero depth on the contrived script, and despite Michelle Williams efforts of looking vulnerable despite her sensuality and ability to enchant the camera (as the blonde sex symbol did) while reflecting the contradictions between her frustrations and needs of being accepted, between self-pity and manipulation, she doesn't have many lines that aren't cliché-bounded.

So, "My Week with Marilyn" is a pointless, obviously failed film, even despite Michelle Williams. Quite a shame if we consider the potential the story could have had.

SCORE: 4,75/10

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