wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)
During an interview, Monroe was asked, “What do you wear to bed?” to which she replied,”Five drops of Chanel no 5.” It’s this provocative nature of THE Marilyn Monroe that we all love. My Week with Marilyn explores much more about her character, that isn’t restricted to her seductive public persona, and even though it is a subject that isn’t too new, it’s worth an engaging watch.Read more
Once during a flimsy duty-free spree I happened to catch a whiff of Chanel no. 5, also Marilyn Monroe’s famously endorsed fragrance – and I knew in a second why she was chosen as brand ambassador. It was a naughty scent; a teasingly stimulating musk, one that lingered on for a couple of hours, strong yet subtle and blotches of a sweet jasmine-y smell. I could picture Monroe standing atop a platform, with her dress flying saying, “that’s how I smell, lovelies”.
As I watched My Week with Marilyn, I remember those moments in the duty free section. Michelle Williams in the film, based on a book by Colin Clark is an absolute stunner. While the film might be a tad bit weak, story wise, feeling a bit repetitive and clumsy, Williams is like the bottle of Chanel no. 5. She’s not the real deal; not nearly close to it (that’s also because there has only been ONE Monroe), but every moment she appears on screen, you share her conviction, with which she acts out a lovely, sassy rendition of Marilyn Monroe.
The film is set in 1956, and told to us from Clark’s point of view. Clark (played by Eddie Redmayne) is an aspiring filmmaker, who finally gets his break as a third assistance director in the England shoot of The Prince and the Showgirl. He meets Marilyn Monroe – and much like his first time, Williams introduction as Monroe in the film, blows our minds too. She’s all about charm. And of course, she’s a difficult actress – always late, messing her lines, questioning the director’s call and other quirks. She develops a soft corner for Clark, for his meekness and awe of her.
Through their (warped) relationship –Clark’s and Monroe’s – we see much discussed traits of her character. Her loneliness, insecurities and brashness is shown to us from Clark’s point of view. It’s not a diva behavior we as audiences are alien to, we’ve all read quite a bit on Monroe. It’s the idea that Clark as her confidant gets to see a side of hers that isn’t restricted to her sultry public persona that is a big win. We see a dreamy, questioning Monroe as she confidently does what she’s best at in The Prince and The showgirl. But we also see a disturbed side of hers, as she speculates and gets dangerously close to Clark through the film.
There are drawbacks in My Week with Marilyn, though. First one being the script: it’s repetitive and doesn’t bring forward anything new. The film is extremely performance heavy; without Williams’ colorfully sensual performance of Monroe the film would be quite flat. The film has some standout dialogues though.
But much accolades to Williams for bringing out the camera-loving side of Monroe. It’s a hard task, because Monroe had the notoriously sex-kitten face, that every single human I know has stopped to look at twice at some point in their lives. It’s naughty, period. While Williams' face is a lot more simplistic and pleasing, you tend to let your mind wander every now and then.
You’ll notice how most of this review is about Marilyn versus Williams as her, as opposed to a review of the film. That is exactly what you move out with, once the film is over. You might not even like the film that much, as it’s not a story that’s adding anything new to your life or one that stays with you. Clark (Eddie Redmayne) as an infatuated boy is a natural, and a perfect catalyst to bring out the nostalgia of Marilyn Monroe.
But most of all, My Week with Marilyn belongs to Michelle Williams; for sheer gut to be able to make audiences accept her “different” portrayal and for making us want to curse ourselves for not being born during the 50s.
This article is by guest author Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
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