There’s a lot more to a good bio-pic than just showing a historical figure’s influential actions and achievements that are already taught in schools and well-known. A strong bio-pic should explore a person’s inner being or show the subject in a different light. If the movie merely illustrates every bullet point on the person’s Wikipedia page, it’s not worth watching. Thankfully, ‘My Week with Marilyn’ intimately shows Marilyn Monroe’s off-screen life through the eyes of a young man who formed a deeply emotional relationship with her over the course of a week (or so).
Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) always loved movies. Coming from a wealthy family and literally having the world at his fingertips, all he ever wanted to do was work in the film industry. When he finally gets an “in” with Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), Colin’s first job is to be the third assistant director on the set of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’, the movie that brought Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) to the U.K. for a difficult and pressure-filled shoot. Stress rises on the set as Marilyn and Olivier frequently butt heads, and her new marriage to Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) hits a rift. As a result, she clings to the only person on set not yet tainted by Hollywood – Colin. As Marilyn constantly calls on him, he gets to know her better than almost anyone else. His depiction of the Hollywood icon is a truly intriguing one.
The actors in ‘My Week with Marilyn’ are given the difficult task of bringing notable public figures to life, and do the job better than anyone since Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Walk the Line’. Williams truly becomes Monroe, especially in the picture-for-picture scenes that recreate her images from the original film. In several scenes, you cannot tell whether you’re watching Branagh or Olivier; he channels the late actor and filmmaker perfectly. The same goes for Dougray Scott as Miller.
‘My Week with Marilyn’ is not a fast-paced film. It’s a slow and intimate character study that never leaves you bored. It’s well-shot, well-directed and very well-acted. ‘My Week with Marilyn’ is yet another film to consider during this upcoming awards season.