Based on the memoirs of Colin Clark, filmaker, My Week with Marilyn tells the story of how Clark (Eddie Redmayne) hustled his way into Laurence Olivier’s production company, assisted on the production of The Prince and the Showgirl and, what was the other thing? Oh, yeah, hung out with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams).
Yes, this is one fantastic story. And a fantasy it may well be. Based solely on his own version of events, it’s hard not to take everything here with a pinch of salt. Despite all its plaudits, this is really nothing more than ITV Sunday evening television. My Week with Marilyn is a very fluffy piece of cinema with about as much weight as one of its script pages. Pedestrian direction and a lacklustre script don’t really help either. There is an interesting story hidden away in the depths of My Week, it’s just a shame it never really comes out.
As events are filtered solely through Colin Clark’s rose-tinted glasses, we only ever see the big mean world being horrible to poor wittle Monroe. Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) is frustrated with Monroe’s supposed lack of professionalism, Vivian Leigh is trying to come to terms with Monroe taking a part in the film she made famous on the stage and Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) is writing a play that highlights her weaknesses…. apparently. Things gratingly come to a head when Monroe miscarries; an event Miller was present for, but who is strangely absent from Clark’s imaginations.
Whilst no one is saying that every biopic is EXACTLY truthful to the events, there is the unshakable impression that Clark has painted a pretty picture of himself; the only man who ever truly understood Monroe.
And what of Monroe herself, Michelle Williams? Well, we can’t take it away from her that she does a mean impression of Monroe, but that’s all it really feels like. An impression with no real depth. That said, in comparison to Branagh’s accent slipping Olivier, it does win some bonus points.
In summary, My Week with Marilyn is a film that could have been interesting, but it never really hangs together. Lot’s of boop-boop-be-doop and very little Norma Jean Baker.