My Week With Marilyn

We’re entering the craptacular award season and that can mean only one thing: Pretentious movies! Our favorite local theater got in Like Crazy, Hugo, The Descendants and My Week With Marilyn. So maudlin romance, mob-genre director does family-holiday pic, desultory director with a thing about cuckoldry doin’ what he does, and…well, a by now relatively inoffensive sounding flick about a young British lordling who stumbles into his first film job, and finds himself babysitting Marilyn Monroe.

The Flower wanted to come so…yeah, I felt safest with the Marilyn pic. Can it be a biopic if it’s only a week long? Would that be a weekopic? A septimanopic? (It sounds cooler in Latin, eh?)

I digress.

This is a fairly pleasant little fantasy pic with Eddie Remayne as the Brit, Colin Clark, who wrote up his little tale in the ‘70s (and again with uncensored parts included in the ’90s). The Flower liked it. The Boy less so.

I liked it more than they did, of course, but there’s a lot of a film geekery that’s totally over their head. Kenneth Branagh hamming it up as Lawrence Olivier. Julia Ormond (looking older than her years) as Vivien Leigh, whose concern is that Larry might not just fool around with Marilyn but get more seriously involved. Emma Watson as the wardrobe-girl-next-door who gets involved with Colin despite her reservations, only to be dropped precipitously in the presence of Marilyn.

Dame Judy Dench adds some character as Dame Sybil Thorndike. As much as I enjoyed her performance, her role, as the kind voice of wisdom, was a little too neat. That’s why I called it a “fantasy pic”. Nothing wrong with that.

Of course, a movie like this rises and falls on Marilyn, or the reasonableness of the facsimile thereof. In this case, we have Michelle Williams, who does a very good job indeed, especially considering how little she looks like Monroe. She gets the mannerisms down, the moves, and she presents a plausible image of the personality behind the icon.

She doesn’t have it, alas. I mean, I’ve never been a fan, particularly, but that Marilyn Monroe had something special is as undeniable as it is opaque. Since I get that she’s supposed to be her, I get a lot of the buzz that probably didn’t seem that clear to the kids. But it’s not like you can CGI that stuff in and the movie does a good job of supporting it.

Overall, it works, much in the mold of other “coming-of-age” type stories. So it was probably the best choice for us at that moment in time.

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