My Week With Marilyn - Blu-ray Review

'Marilyn's ultimate release, to the simple life with Colin for a few days, has a whiff of condescension about it.'

The answer to the question 'what will the British film industry do, now there are no Potter films to make?' is suggested by My Week With Marilyn; make films about the British film industry during the 1950s. It becomes rather normal during the opening moments of Simon Curtis' film to expect a new appearance by a British heavyweight, every time the camera pans across. Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Simon Russell Beale, Toby Jones, Dougray Scott, Zoƫ Wanamaker, Emma Watson, Dominic Cooper; the list of strict Potter alumni might be somewhat sparse but the logic is all there and ready to be jumped in to. Expect Alan Rickman to show up as someone important in the direct or spiritual sequel.

Once Curtis has stopped whizzing us around his room of heavyweights, My Week With Marilyn settles down into a nice character piece, seen through the eyes of Eddie 'I've got a much deeper voice than I look like I should have' Redmayne. Redmayne's Colin looks on, as the rest of the cast, led by Branagh's Sir Laurence Olivier, tries to decide whether the definitely neurotic Marilyn (Michelle Williams) is a little mad, a little annoying, a little in need of help or a lot of all three.

Perhaps the main failing of the film is that it never comes down on a side. Marilyn is definitely a diva but whether her motives are somewhat selfish or related to a fracturing mental state isn't quite made clear. It ultimately becomes hard to care about what boils down to being a problem which is certainly only experienced by those in the extreme upper echelons of the money, fame and power leagues. Marilyn's ultimate release, to the simple life with Colin for a few days, has a whiff of condescension about it.

Nevertheless, Williams' stand out performance, realistically suggesting the layers of Marilyn's fractured psyche, is spellbinding; both an imitation and a portrayal that adds depth and individuality. Redmayne smiles too much for some of the material but does enough to keep us with him, although the ugly subplot with Emma Watson's character should have been cut from the final draft. It's an entirely pleasant way to spend ninety-nine minutes but some more bite, and a better toned script, could have worked wonders.

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'Only in the briefest of moments – Monroe’s interaction with the paparazzi, or the insidious relationship between her and her acting coach – does My Week with Marilyn seem to have something to say about the nature of celebrity' - MovieDex, 1.5/5

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