My Week With Marilyn Movie Review


The leap from a young man’s first time experience as production hand on a Marilyn Monroe movie set, to a tell-all how I was around when Marilyn wore nothing but perfume whether in the tub or the local lake, is likely to be a pretty big stretch for most audiences. And so is My Week With Marilyn, the movie within a movie where these alleged infatuated UK fanboy incidents took place.

Colin Clark was the twenty-three year old starstruck college grad back in 1956, determined to get hired as a bottom feeder on the British set of The Prince And The Showgirl back then. And which he revealed forty years later in his confessional memoir, The Prince, The Showgirl And Me.

Eddie Redmayne is Colin in this subsequent page to screen Simon Curtis directed biopic, My Week With Marilyn. And apparently sharing the intended muse of the title (Michelle Williams) with the director and star of The Prince And The Showgirl and a somewhat upstaged icon in his own right, Laurence Olivier. Not to mention acclaimed American playwright and Monroe spouse of the moment Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). Who appeared to have tired quickly of the crowded field of Marilyn admirers and her perpetual moodiness, and so hopped on the next flight back home.

And while volunteer boy toy Colin quietly tags along after Monroe in a nearly hypnotic trance, the narrative seems to advance in the opposite direction. As it dwells on but barely skims potentially fascinating themes like Marilyn’s outer beauty versus persistent inner self-loathing, and the contrast of American and British notions of what constitutes royalty.

Now, a one week obsession recalled forty years after the fact in the mind of a man in his already forgetful sixties, might tend to be a little vague when not very possibly embellished due to the pressures of public expectations to say the least. And even if it is the reigning screen goddess of the period. Which is essentially how this recollection moves through time, at once an outside-looking-in cloudy and vague perspective, along with intermittent abrupt moments of stiff, lukewarm intimacy between Clark and Monroe’s odd couple.

And whether it might be Michelle Williams’ lack of sufficient steamy sensuality, drama or humor to fully capture Monroe’s essence – but who really can fill those shoes for that matter – or the more inhibited characteristic British sensibility and detached tone of this production, who can say. But neither provocative nor probing, the magic that was Marilyn simmers rather than sparkles throughout this movie.

The Weinstein Company

Rated R

2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.