Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Week With Marilyn. C+

My Week With Marilyn is all about the bare necessities. There's nothing splashy about its delivery. Its visual language is elegant and clean, its story as basic and traditional as they come, and its performances full of class. The movie, directed by Simon Curtis, leans heavily on Michelle Williams' imitation of Marilyn Monroe. What little energy the film has she provides, even if in the end we applaud Williams' mimicry of Monroe rather than her ability to let the viewer know her more. Essentially the film shows us Monroe's charismatic public life and her very shaky private one, together resulting in her early death. I recently saw a Mad Men episode that depicted the grief inflicted on the female members of society at Monroe's sudden departure. Williams manages to capture that charm and allure that made all women want to be her. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, Monroe remains a pretty dull figure. The other main player in the film is an aspiring filmmaker named Colin Clark, played by a miscast Eddie Redmayne. Monroe has come to England to film a picture with Laurence Olivier. Colin is an assistant director for the film, and his earnest, youthful exuberance and innocence results in a romantic bond with Monroe. But this is mediocre material. It's a solid British production that never hits a false note, yet there's simply not enough risk in the script or Curtis' direction to make it fully recommendable. And from a personal standpoint, the only thing I really liked was Kenneth Branagh's performance as Olivier. Not so much when he's putting on his accent for the film, but in his quieter scenes, like the one with Colin at the end. Branagh is a classic actor, a truly remarkable presence, without whom the movie would barely be able to get along. 

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