My Week With Marilyn

Hey hey Cinema Conversations fan club, it’s almost Wednesday which traveling back in time to my late high school and then college years would mean I’d probably be watching Dawson’s Creek at this time of night (or there would be a VHS tape all set to record it). The show was not nearly as good as say Felicity or Gilmore Girls, but I still managed to catch every episode. Maybe you’re not in my fan club anymore, but if you are still reading I know now all those hours of the Pacey/Dawson/Joey drama were worth it because the show introduced the world of Hollyweird, and me, to Michelle Williams.
As a fellow child of the ’80s, I admire Williams’ rise from the WB to the big screen in Oscar-nominated films and quirky indie fare. If I could be or wanted to be an actress, I would try be one like her.
One minute she’s Cecil in The Baxter (love), the next she’s Cindy in Blue Valentine (also love, even though it’s SO depressing) and most recently Williams took on the iconic Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.
The role, which focused on Monroe while the actress filmed The Prince and the Showgirl with Sir Laurence Olivier in 1956, earned Williams one of three Oscar nominations. (They also include Blue Valentine and Brokeback Mountain).
In particular, the story is about the fleeting relationship Monroe develops with Colin Clark, a young, naive employee on the movie set.
Clark’s diary of his work on the film, according to Rotten Tomatoes, was published 40 years later without the scoop on his week with Marilyn Monroe. Eventually that too was published and was the source of Simon Curtis’ 2011 film also starring Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne and Julia Ormond.
Clark, in his early 20s, worked his way into a gig at Olivier’s studio as the crew there prepared for The Prince and the Showgirl and Monroe’s arrival to the film set.
That scene in My Week With Marilyn turned the film around for me because it started to develop the story more and allow the viewer to know more about the characters.
Marilyn Monroe is an iconic Hollywood image and it’s a bit surreal to watch a movie about the making of a movie she starred in even before her career boomed with Some Like It Hot.
It’s also educational to learn about the struggles in Monroe’s life and about what she was like as a person, not an actress. Monroe was constantly late on set, had trouble remembering her lines and medicated herself with drugs and alcohol.
But Clark was able to help her through it when no one else could and in turn had the once in a lifetime experience of connecting with Monroe.
At times the story in My Week With Marilyn was a bit unbelievable, but I think that was more of a minor flaw of how the film was made, not the true lives it came from.
Overall the film captures one week in the life of Marilyn Monroe that no one would otherwise really know about. (I am intrigued to read Clark’s book now.)
Perhaps there will be movies made about Michelle Williams one day. Whether or not that is true I am definitely going to keep up on her to-dos. Up next: Take This Waltz on June 7. Can’t wait!

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