My Week With Marilyn

My Week With Marilyn

***1/2

 

Every generation has its hot models and matinee idols. But there is only one Marilyn Monroe.

Generation Xers like me can only marvel at how many momentous things (and people) Marilyn Monroe did during her short life.

She married Joe Dimaggio, then Arthur Miller. She co-starred in a beloved comedy with Jack Lemmon and in an acclaimed drama with Clark Gable. Plus she had an affair with President Kennedy.

If a woman wants to be the 21st Century Marilyn Monroe, she has got a lot of work to do.

I guess she’d have to wed Derek Jeter, then playwright David Mamet. I suppose she’d have to co-star in a hit comedy with Eddie Murphy and then wow the critics with a powerful performance in Robert Redford’s final film. Oh, and she’d have to hook up with Obama.

Clearly there is only one Marilyn Monroe. She is a unique, iconic figure in pop culture history.

I was hoping that this movie would introduce me to the real Marilyn Monroe – the talented, troubled Norma Jean Mortenson.

As a biography, “My Week With Marilyn” is disappointingly shallow. But it’s a very enjoyable movie nevertheless.

“My Week With Marilyn” gives us a charming, visually appealing slice of Hollywood life in the 1950s. It was the period when the old-fashioned, theatrical overacting style was slowly being supplanted by the new school of Marlon Brando-style method acting.

The all-star cast of British thespians – Kenneth Branagh, Julia Ormond, Judy Dench – clearly had a great time making the movie and that makes it fun to watch.

“Marilyn” chronicles one magical week in the life of a 23-year old Englishman named Colin.

First, Colin lands his dream job as an errand boy on a movie set. Next, he has a brief love affair with the leading lady Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). Now I’m not saying that I’m jealous of this guy’s job….No, wait, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

What the movie lacks in drama and character development it makes up for in keen observations about the movie business.

Director Simon Curtis shows us how challenging it is to be a smart, beautiful young actress.

Marilyn Monroe had to find a delicate balance between using her intelligence to make sure people didn’t take advantage of her while also making sure to always act a little ditzy so as not to intimidate men and infuriate jealous women.

Curtis also makes a subtle but powerful argument against Hollywood marriages. What a stressed out actress needs more than anything is a calm, stable, supportive husband to come home to every night.

However, high maintenance stars always seem to want to marry other high maintenance stars. Hollywood weddings make for good photo ops and tabloid stories, but they don’t lead to lifelong happiness and fulfillment.

Marilyn Monroe desperately needed a decent man who was always there for her instead of a moody genius like Arthur Miller who was busy with his own career.

Happily, though, “My Week With Marilyn” doesn’t dwell on Marilyn Monroe’s depression. It is a charming, diverting love letter to the 1950s that is entertaining and beautifully shot. I enjoyed it.

 

 

Advertisements