Monday, October 10, 2011

NYFF Spotlight: My Week with Marilyn

I have the distinct pleasure this year of covering a few of the films that are being shown at the New York Film Festival. Most of these films do not yet have U.S. release dates, and therefore this can be considered a preview review.

My Week with Marilyn
Directed by Simon Curtis
NYFF Screening October 12 at 7pm
To be released November 4, 2011

A movie about making a movie is bound to be loaded with subtext, and it presents the opportunity for plenty of creative choices and layered meanings. That’s not the case, however, in “My Week with Marilyn,” a chronicle of one aspiring filmmaker’s role as third assistant director on the 1957 film “The Prince and the Showgirl,” in which he worked closely with both Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. In more than just name, it bears a resemblance to the 2009 release “Me and Orson Welles,” in which a self-described nobody getting the chance to interface regularly with a big star. Colin Clark’s relationship with Marilyn Monroe takes on an entirely different nature, and the title of the film, and a basic knowledge of history, dooms it to an eventual end. Most prominent in the film are effortful performances from Michelle Williams as Marilyn and Kenneth Branagh as Olivier, both concerned with imitation but also with creating dynamic and compelling characters. None of the magic of that filmmaking process, however, translates to this film, save for the casting of Dame Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike. Eddie Redmayne, incapable of keeping a smile off his face for more than a few seconds, is charming, but his upward journey into the movie business seems a bit devoid of stakes. The story in general is highly predictable and fraught with commonplace circumstances and conversations, even if this is based on true events documented by the real-life Clark. Like his week with Marilyn, this film feels far too fleeting.


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