28 July 2013

My Week with Marilyn

My Week With Marilyn 2011
  • Director: Simon Curtis
  • Based on books: by Colin Clark
  • Cast: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormand, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Derek Jacobi, Geraldine Somerville, Michael Kitchen, Miranda Raison, Tobey Jones, Robert Portal, Philip Jackson, Zoe Wanamaker, Jim Carter, Dominic Cooper
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Michelle Williams – Shutter Island, Brokeback Mountain, The United States of Leland, A Thousand Acres
    • Eddie Redmayne – Les Misérables, Elizabeth the Golden Age
    • Kenneth Branah – everything. Here are a few: Hamlet, Frankenstein, Henry V, Valkyrie, Wallander, Swing Kids, The Boat That Rocked, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rabbit Proof Fence, Shackleton, How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Fortunes of War
    • Julia Ormand – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    • Judi Dench – Hotel Marigold, Cranford, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Ladies in Lavender, The Shipping News, Chocolat, Tea with Mussolini, Shakespeare in Love, Mrs. Brown, 84 Charing Cross Road, A Room with a View, Macbeth
    • Emma Watson – the Harry Potter movies
    • Derek Jacobi - I Claudius, Henry V, Hamlet, Hamlet (BBC 1980), Gladiator, The King’s Speech, Gosford Park, Dead Again
    • Geraldine Somerville – Harry’s mother in the Harry Potter movies, Gosford Park
    • Michael Kitchen – Foyle’s War, Oliver Twist, Mrs Dalloway, The Comedy of Errors, King Lear
    • Miranda Raison - Merlin
    • Tobey Jones – Dobby’s voice in the Harry Potter movies, The Hunger Games, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Frost/Nixon, The Mist, Infamous, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Finding Neverland, Ladies in Lavender,
    • Robert Portal – The King’s Speech
    • Philip Jackson – Little Voice, Brassed Off and a lot of British TV series
    • Zoe Wanamaker – the quiddich coach in the Harry Potter movies, David Copperfield, Wilde, Richard III, Othello and a lot of British TV series
    • Jim Carter – Downton Abbey, Shakespeare in Love, Cranford, Modigliani, Ella Enchanted, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Brassed Off, The Madness of King George
    • Dominic Cooper – An Education, Mamma Mia
  • Why? Kenneth Branagh
  • Seen: July 20, 2013

The Marilyn legend continues to fascinate.  This time a based-on-a-memoir film about a gofer on the set of the Monroe-Olivier comedy The Prince and the Showgirl made in the 50’s.  Marilyn is still young and insecure, experienced but never believing she is a good actress.  Larry is an aging actor/producer well aware of his lofty position as one of the best but…aging.
She drives him wild with frustration over her neurotics.  He scares her and tramples on what self-esteem she might have.
It’s a brilliant idea for a movie and somehow their movie gets made.  The story is told by young, innocent, dewy-eyed Colin Clark, well played by Redmayne.
Things could have become sentimental and sensational but this is Branagh. At times it was spooky to see him become Olivier.  Having seen them both in Henry V and Hamlet and vastly preferring Branagh, it is mind-bending to see Branagh’s face become Olivier’s face. How does he do that?
After my first reaction to Michelle Williams – “she doesn’t look like Marilyn!” – I forget that she isn’t and I’m totally convinced.
It’s fun to see other superstars wander in and out of the movie – Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Emma Watson, Michael Kitchen, Jim Carter, Zoe Wanamaker.
Still, in spite of all this, I find myself detached, more admiring the excellence of the movie than being swallowed up by it.  Maybe next time.

3 ½  * of 5

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