Oscar reviews: My Week with Marilyn

by Jason Madanjian / Beacon Staff • February 23, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of the Weinstein Company
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Photo Courtesy of the Weinstein Company
Marilyn Monroe remains an American icon decades after her death. Her status as a sex symbol, along with her seemingly naive persona, has fascinated the public since she first appeared on screen. My Week With Marilyn is about more than Monroe. It tells the story of her tryst with a member of her fan club, Colin Clark.

My Week With Marilyn, based on two memoirs by Clark, chronicles Monroe’s brief one week relationship with him. He worked as the third assistant director on her latest film, The Prince And The Showgirl, filmed in Britain.

Michelle Williams, who earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination this year for her portrayal of Monroe, gives a stunning performance, sure to be a career benchmark. The film depicts Monroe’s personality as a bundle of contradictions. Williams nails both sides of this persona. We see the girl the world fell in love with, as well as the shy and fragile Monroe we aren’t used to seeing.

Although Williams is the star of the film, the supporting cast holds their own. Kenneth Branagh, nominated for an Oscar in his role, plays Sir Laurence Olivier. His struggle to understand Miss Monroe is fascinating to watch as he vents out thefrustration and confusion about the temperamental starlet.

Zoe Wanamaker is riveting as Monroe’s acting consultant Paula Strasberg. It’s the scenes between Williams and Wanamaker that truly delve into Monroe’s psyche and expose her vulnerabilities.

The film’s success relies on its plethora of powerful performances. Williams and her co-stars paint convincing portraits of these memorable characters, transporting the audience to another time and place.