Marilyn Well Acted but Inconsequential
- Wednesday, November 23, 2011
“You’re just looking for the right man,” Colin tells her, attempting to cheer her up.
“They always look right at the start,” she replies.
Williams captures Monroe’s vulnerability and sex appeal, even as the film seems uncertain about whether to treat her as an untouchable screen goddess or a deeply troubled individual. She was both, of course, but the film won’t settle for ambivalence. Not surprisingly, it wants audiences to leave theaters remembering the laughter and glamour associated with Monroe, rather than any unsettling thoughts about the sources of Monroe’s deep personal pain and insecurities.
“Why do the people I love always leave?” Monroe asks Colin. The film offers no answer to her question. Before the end credits roll, Monroe’s most caustic critics will be singing her praises. All other storylines—including an undercooked romance between Colin and a wardrobe assistant (Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2)—aren’t worthy of reflection. It’s Williams as Monroe that the movie wants front and center, and the actress is good enough in the role to make basic considerations about the point of the broader story seem frivolous.
My Week with Marilynis a frothy, insubstantial movie, but its cast makes the film pass by breezily, requiring little effort on the part of viewers to dig beneath the surface and explore the complexities of Monroe’s struggles. See it for Williams’ admirable performance, but don’t expect the film to lead you to deep thoughts about the downside of fame, or the despair that consumed Marilyn Monroe.
“When Marilyn gets it right, you just don’t want to watch anyone else,” says one awed filmmaker watching the actress on-screen. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself agreeing but simultaneously wondering why My Week with Marilyn has little else to offer.
- Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; the “f” word; “a-s”; third assistant directors are described as “randy boogers who just want some fun”; crude term for female breasts; “hell.”
- Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: Monroe has a dependence on pills; a man is asked to spy on her because, “among other things,” she drinks; Monroe gives Colin a drink.
- Sex/Nudity: Kissing; cleavage; during a press conference, Monroe is asked if she wears nothing to bed but perfume; Monroe plays a character who is seduced by Olivier’s character, but Olivier’s wife, Vivian Leigh, suspects he’s determined to seduce Monroe in real life; Monroe walks out of shower with only a towel around her head, and walks into her hotel room, where Colin sees her, although nothing is shown; Olivier crudely says he hopes Colin is sexually involved with Monroe, because it might “calm her down”; Colin kisses Lucy and tries for more, but she stops him; Monroe’s nude lower back side shown; when she skinny dips in a lake, Colin jumps in after her and is shown emerging from the water in his underwear; Colin lies in bed with Monroe while she’s in a drugged state; Monroe kisses Colin; Monroe takes a bath, but we see only a soapy back and some soapy limbs.
- Violence/Crime: Marilyn experiences some bleeding, but a doctor refuses to disclose to others whether or not she’s pregnant.
Religion/Morals: Reports that the U.S. Congress suspects Arthur Miller of being a Communist, then later that they no longer do; a character says he’s prayed all his life for a great actress, and God has given him Marilyn Monroe.
Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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