Chronicling the true story of Colin Clark’s week spent with Marilyn Monroe, My Week with Marilyn should essentially be his story; of course, it’s not that at all.
A boyish-faced Eddie Redmayne steps up to the task of playing the aspiring filmmaker and writer Colin Clark, who will do anything to get into Hollywood. Mostly unknown, except for appearing in a few minor roles, Redmayne’s baby-faced features but surprisingly deep voice make him perfect as the naïve twenty-three year old Clark, who lands a job as the third assistant director during the filming of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl. My Week with Marilyn captures the adventure of being caught in the glamour of the film industry as Clark learns life lessons from his brief romances with Monroe and Lucy, the film’s wardrobe assistant, played by Emma Watson in her first minor role. As for Watson, she is now a woman, not just Hermione.
As a newcomer, Redmayne is supported by modern British classics Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench. Branagh rightly plays the classic film star of the film’s era, Sir Laurence Olivier. Despite the uncanny similarities in their looks, Branagh’s boisterous personality shines through, as usual; he comes across as slightly overbearing and domineering in the role. Dench is lovely as always as Dame Sybil Thorndyke, creating a motherly figure for both Monroe and Clark. Dominic Cooper loses his British accent to play Monroe’s agent, Milton H. Greene, and Dougray Scott makes an appearance as her aloof husband, the writer Arthur Miller.
The real gem of this film is, without a doubt, Michelle William’s portrayal of the one and only Marilyn Monroe. Her blue contact lensed eyes are enchanting and beguiling. Every stare at the camera draws you in, much like the real Marilyn did. Williams truly embodies Monroe; a subtle sexiness seeps through her performance, both in the actions of her body and huskiness of her voice. Williams sings and dances on top of acting, she also gained several kilograms to enhance her curves. While she exudes the sexuality of a mature woman, Williams captures Monroe’s child-like façade, anxiety, depression and loneliness that she suffered behind closed doors.
At first, the film seems like just another biopic film. But as it develops, the film presents itself as an underrated classic. The all-British cast (bar Williams) is a quaint change of scenery from the usual all-American blockbusters being churned out. Williams is undoubtedly the stand-out star of this film. Her interpretation of Monroe is raw but skilfully subtle, and as a true actor or actress should be, she is no longer Michelle Williams. She is Marilyn Monroe.