‘My Week With Marilyn’: NY Premiere

My Week With Marilyn had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on Sunday, October 9. Here is a selection of reviews:

“Though Clark’s perspective (played by Eddie Redmayne) is necessarily the filter through which to see Monroe, he comes off too much the earnest young gopher, and the movie feels downright Disney at times as a result. That said, Williams is a revelation and brings a much-needed darkness to My Week with Marilyn …Williams is clearly the best thing about this movie, and a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination.” – Huffington Post

“The luminous Michelle Williams gives a layered performance that goes beyond impersonation in My Week With Marilyn. Playing both the damaged, insecure woman and the sensual celebrity construct, as well as the role with which Marilyn Monroe was struggling during a particularly difficult shoot, Williams gets us on intimate terms with one of Hollywood’s most enduring and tragic icons. If much of what surrounds her in Simon Curtis’ biographical drama is less nuanced, her work alone keeps the movie entertaining.” Hollywood Reporter

“At the risk of sounding too critical, may I suggest that those who know Marilyn’s life and Hollywood history of the 1950s, will be vastly disappointed, for the movie doesn’t contain a single note, or fresh observation, which are not already familiar from the vast, mythic lore (and folklore) of docus, books, biographies, memoirs, and albums about the legendary star, who died in 1962, at the age of 36.” – Emmanuel Levy

“Marilyn Monroe was too big a personality, too important a symbol, to ever be fully explained. My Week with Marilyn shouldn’t be confused with a biopic and it shouldn’t be framed as some sort of crackpot attempt to get to the bottom of things. Her tripartite image portrayed here is based on one man’s fleeting impressions of the legend, developed over the course of production on one film, one week spent together. The truth, of course, is that Monroe is what you make of her. Still, Williams offers a powerful way in.” – The Atlantic

“The movie is exactly what you’d expect: a well-mounted period fantasy about a young man’s brief fling with the sexiest Hollywood movie star ever, who inevitably winds up returning to her husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). As a romance, it’s delightful; I watched it with a smile. It’s commercially accessible entertainment for the adult art house crowd.” – Anne Thompson

“As The King’s Speech proved last year, this is the kind of film that Hollywood adores. American audiences love British drama, and in this one you have one of the best loved American icons in the center of it all.” – Richard Wagner

“Williams looks fake as Marilyn (the padding sadly shows and though a beauty herself, she can’t replicate Marilyn’s carnality) but she’s real where it counts especially when detailing Marilyn’s painful dreams of being a Great Actress. Unfortunately she can’t conjure Marilyn’s most pitiable and most miraculous of contradictions; for all her torturous effort on set there was in Marilyn as Marilyn, a breathtaking effortlessness of being.” – Nathaniel Rogers 

” The first feature from British television director Simon Curtis, My Week With Marilyn generally takes the form of a screwball comedy based around Monroe’s constant unwillingness to play by Olivier’s rules by forgetting her lines or dashing off-set in the face of criticism from the director. But the script lands only the most basic laughs, failing to dig into the mystique surrounding its subject. While the movie goes through conventional motions, Williams has little to do save for offering her best Marilyn voice and grin.” IndieWire

“While Williams completely nails the look that we know from photos, she falls very short of Monroe’s vivacious performances. The most obvious difference is that Monroe was a comic genius, and Williams is a droopy and mopey blank slate. Williams as Monroe sounds like she is reading funny lines flatly; Monroe, with her mellifluous, put-on of a voice sounded as if she was surprised by every bizarre truth and earthy discovery.” – The L Magazine

“Ironically, Williams (who also beautifully performs three musical numbers as Marilyn) may eventually go home with an Oscar — for playing an actress who was never even nominated.” – New York Post 

“I was fully prepared to praise the performance because it seemed Michelle wasn’t going to be doing an ‘impression’ of Marilyn. The trailer made me think she was going to key into certain Marilyn-isms, while making it her version of Marilyn. Any actress who has a shot of nailing Marilyn would have to go this route. But in the end Williams doesn’t do this – it is an impression – and not a very good one. This is due, as I’ve said, to the fact that she isn’t given any scenes to actually bring anything new to the character.” – Casey Chapman


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