My Week With Marilyn is the true account of a young man (Eddie Redmayne, earthy good looks, like a handsome Dean Gaffney) who finds himself a position as a runner on the film set of The Prince and The Showgirl, a bumbling rom com based around the pairing of Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh on fine form) and Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). He then discovers himself in the eye of the storm as Miss Monroe’s crazy life whirlwinds all over the production, and he gets a glimpse at the girl behind the glamour.
This narrative of this film is truly overshadowed by Michelle Williams’s towering performance as the late Marilyn Monroe. From her first appearance on screen she captures all of the mystery, sexiness and glamour that propelled her into becoming an icon. However away from the adoring press, she plays Monroe with an endearing vulnerability and fragility, an icon carried away on hype but plagued by issues of self worth. Surrounding herself with what we would now refer to as an entourage (including a life coach), she ruffles the feathers of Sir Laurence by continually fluffing lines and waltzing off set. Her aspirations to be a great actress and worthy of her fame are constantly crippled by her fear that she is a hack and fraud. Branagh also shines as the enraged Olivier, regularly bursting into fits over Marilyn’s lost little girl behaviour and diva like no shows.
Williams gradually opens up to the young Redmayne, and the pair share a brief dalliance, showing her charm and intelligence as well as her destructive spontaneity and dependence on others and drugs. She simply disappears into the role of Marilyn, someone electric to watch and yet endearingly damaged. It feels more like the real deal than just an impersonation.
It’s a film about the trappings of fame, first crushes and pursuit of self love. A good watch heightened by a stunning and exquisite performance.