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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


(Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe)

Coming up on the Cinema Nouveau circuit is the Oscar nominated portrayal of the iconic Marilyn Monroe, My Week With Marilyn directed by Simon Curtis.

‘Marilyn Monroe died on August 5, 1962, aged 36, but 50 years after her death, her name, her image and her films are still known and loved. Other stars have come and gone but she is still considered to be one of the most instantly recognised personalities and one of the most luminous screen icons. Her life, however, was profoundly complex, difficult and finally tragic. The graceful film My Week With Marilyn evokes her legend.’ (Barry Ronge, Film Critic)

In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark, just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince And The Showgirl, the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe, who, whilst shooting, was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller.

Nearly 40 years on, Colin’s diary account of The Prince, The Showgirl And Me was published, but one week was missing. This is the story of that week - an idyll week during which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of working. When Arthur Miller makes a brief trip to Paris, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce her to some of the pleasures of British life.

The collision of the two worlds - old England and new Hollywood - is as incongruous as it is delightful. Slowly Marilyn begins to shake off the dark fog of insecurity and fear always hovering around her. She reacts with lovely naturalness to this alien world and, as she relaxes, she offers Colin fleeting insights into her own background: one of family madness, single-minded ambition and uninhibited sexuality. Simply and without self-pity, she relays her take of her rise to Hollywood’s A-list: a story involving abuse, in one form or another, at the hand of almost every man she has ever known - abuse that has left her with only the thinnest of protective layers.

Marilyn herself is not without contradiction. Everyone wants something from her, but she too is fixated on the life she has chosen and is quite unable to leave it, even though the pressure is crushing her ... and yet, for a moment, lost in the English countryside, it seems she might finally escape.

Michelle Williams gives the performance of a lifetime as the remarkable Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, earning a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Co-star Kenneth Branagh (Sir Laurence Olivier) also received an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.