Thursday, 12 January 2012

Review: My Week With Marilyn

Set in the summer of 1956, the young graduate Colin Flark dreams of finding a job in the film industry so he decides to leave the safety of his parents’ home to embark on an adventurous journey to London, not knowing where destiny is going to take him. 

Against the odds, he lands himself a job at a production house in the heart of Britain’s film industry – the Warner Bros. studios in Leavesden - and before Flark properly realises what is happening he finds himself in the presence of the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier and becomes a witness of the tense interaction between Olivier and the absolute superstar of the late ‘50s, Marilyn Monroe, during the production of the comedy ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. 

Monroe, who is joined by her then new husband Arthur Miller, has her moments of insecurity, depression and behaviour that borders insanity, resulting in continuous production delays which deeply frustrate the ambitious Olivier. 

When Miller leaves England, Monroe's loneliness and desperate need for attention are filled by the funny, energetic Clark, who introduces Marilyn to some of the pleasures of English life. A heavenly, surreal week, in which he makes Monroe escape from the Hollywood sycophants and the pressures of being a superstar, is to follow. An affair which is encouraged by some on set, but loathed by others who secretly desire the attention of Marilyn themselves. It is the story of a genuine summer love which is bound to go wrong, without anyone really getting hurt.

Director Simon Curtis delivers an excellent performance with a sexy, appealing Michelle Williams as Monroe. Kenneth Branagh (Olivier) keeps the whole lot together, while Judi Dench acts as the moral conscience of the crew and Harry Potter’s Emma Watson is casted as a motivating extra who anxiously fancies Flark. But it is Eddie Redmayne - portraying the young, naive and slightly insecure Flark - who is amazingly strong and carries the story throughout. The convincing story, in combination with the 1950s vibe and fashion, as well as the compelling music of the time, turn this all-round production into a success. The genuine on-screen chemistry between Williams and Flark make this movie a must-see for anyone who still dares to say yes to love. - Michiel Willems

My Week With Marilyn (UK, 99 mins, drama, first released on 25 November in London)