Michelle Williams is beguiling as screen siren Marilyn Monroe in this true story of an on-set dalliance. Indeed, while movies about making movies mightn’t always hold the widest appeal, going behind the scenes with the dazzling charm and manifold insecurities of Monroe makes for quite the seductive combination.
My Week With Marilyn is based on the memoir of Colin Clark (sensitively played by Eddie Redmayne), a toff university graduate and diehard film fan who inveigles his way into the role of third assistant director on the set of Sir Laurence Olivier’s (a scene stealing, sibilant Kenneth Branagh) The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). Monroe arrives in London to much pomp and ceremony, escorted by her new husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) and acting coach Paula Strasberg (Zoe Wanamaker) only to dissolve into a quaking little girl lost at Sir Laurence’s increasingly exasperated direction.
What follows feels a lot like the male version of Carey Mulligan’s turn in An Education. Clark and the starlet share a romance as he transforms from breathless fan to ardent protector in this light and nostalgic coming-of-age tale with a Hollywood twist.
“Should I be her?” Monroe breathily enquires. And Williams wondrously delivers on all counts.
3 1/2 stars
Published in February 2012 issue of Limelight Magazine
Australian release date: 16 February 2012