MANILA, Philippines – As its title suggests, My Week with Marilyn is not a full-fledged biopic, more of a glimpse into the persona of Marilyn Monroe while she briefly stayed in London to shoot the 1957 comedy The Prince and the Showgirl.
But instead of being seen from the viewpoint of, say, Laurence Olivier, The Prince’s director and co-star, My Week with Marilyn takes on the perspective of Colin Clark, then a fresh college graduate and filmmaking hopeful who had parlayed his experience as The Prince crew member-gopher (i.e., an errand boy who would “go for this, go get that”) into 2 books, one of which is a memoir from which My Week with Marilyn got its title.
Per My Week, not only did the ordinary Clark get to meet the extraordinary Monroe herself, he also got to see her naked twice, including during an afternoon of skinny-dipping, become her confidante and occasional escort, and consequently learn more than her fans and colleagues theretofore ever did.
Hmm…a British everyman gets to meet an American girl who happens to be a global superstar and they form an unlikely, intimate relationship while she’s in London shooting a movie. Is this Notting Hill Part 2?
That 1999 Julia Roberts-Hugh Grant romantic comedy apparently was not at all inspired by Clark’s brush with Monroe. Yet, alas, My Week with Marilyn does not end up being the kind of memorable gem that Notting Hill turned out to be, either.
Perhaps the primary hurdle for the 2011 movie is in having to depict real people, led by one as larger-than-life as Marilyn Monroe.
Michelle Williams, who has come a long way from TV’s Dawson’s Creek, does give her breathy, vampy best in portraying Monroe as both a vivacious celebrity in front of people (audiences, fans, the press) and as a vulnerable soul in front of Clark. Yet My Week’s overall depiction comes off as hollow, inadequate, bitin.
Combining the movie’s lack of genuinely revelatory tidbits about the beauteous bombshell and the world’s extant knowledge or notions of her, My Week winds up as nothing more than a good-while-it-lasts moviegoing experience. Clark may have been, predictably enough, enchanted with Monroe, yet the film itself is hardly enchanting.
My one major takeaway from My Week with Marilyn is this:
Amid its sea of notable supporting performances, such as that of Judi Dench (who comes off as Nora Aunor if Ate Guy were already in her ’70s) and Zoë Wanamaker (whom Austin Powers followers might confuse with Mindy “Frau Farbissina” Sterling), Emma Watson quietly shines.
A fresh graduate of the eight-movie Harry Potter series, the now 21-year-old actress has grown into a radiant presence. Even though she appears very minimally in My Week with Marilyn, as a modest wardrobe assistant whom Clark dates pre-Monroe, Watson has an unforced aura of a star about her.
If she gets honed further through future films, Watson just might end up being the subject of another average Joe’s own memoir, possibly entitled Made Weak by Emma. – Rappler.com
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