When it comes to portraying a person on film who has actually lived it tends to be a tricky area. Doing justice to that person is always the number one priority. When it comes to portraying someone as iconic as Marilyn Monroe the expectations are even higher. This is the difficulty Michelle Williams faced when taking on this task.
Marilyn Monroe may be the most famous pop culture icon of all time. Though she was real and was on top of the entertainment world for a brief but pivotal period she has reached mythic status. The idea and images are as popular as she ever was. So for someone to play her on screen and not have it come across as an imitation yet a true to life portrayal is somewhat of a daunting task. Michelle Williams, on the outside, didn’t seem like the ideal choice to pull this off. She has since completely silenced any criticism that some may have been prepared to give. Williams delivers without question, one of the best performances of the year and greatly deserves the Oscar nomination she has received.
The movie is a true story of a young man named Colin Clark and his time spent on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl starring Marilyn and Laurence Olivier. It is not the story one might expect. It does have the love story between Monroe and Clark but it also shows how Monroe was conflicted and pulled in many different directions at the height of her fame. It shows how she truly wanted to please all those involved in her life and career. She was truly searching for love but felt the need for it to be a person of notoriety and fame to help preserve the image that she and many others created. She didn’t have the luxury so many actors have today of making artistic choices. She felt a need to please all those around her but was completely unsure how to do it. Williams so truthfully and realistically shows the wearing down the industry took on the small town girl and how she didn’t know how to deal with her fame. She felt an overwhelming need to be everything everyone wanted her to be which was ultimately her downfall.
The film is not the most perfect but it has a quality to it that keeps you engaged and entertained. There is no question that Williams carries the film on her shoulders and doesn’t waiver for even a second. It is refreshing to have a year of film that has some of the most perfect casting in years and My Week With Marilyn is no exception. With Kenneth Branagh playing Sir Laurence Olivier to perfection it is one of the few movies that quickly pulls you into it’s world to the point you forget you are watching actors and you feel you are just an observer of the time. It is a fine tribute and homage to one of the most remembered and revered persons of the 20th century.