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Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Week With Marilyn

In 1956, Oxford grad Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) worked as a lowly assistant on the set of "The Prince and the Showgirl", a film starring Sir Laurence Oliver (Kenneth Branagh), Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Dame Sybil Thorndike (Judi Dench). On the set, Marilyn befriends the trustful Colin during the shoot. And that's the setup for a movie that's light on plot but heavy on performance.

There's a pleasant clash of British royalty vs. American celebrity going on, and the real tension is revealed as Oliver notes that for all his theater-trained acting, the silver screen rewards the magic of someone like Marilyn.  Much like Monroe's work in the "Prince and the Showgirl" film, the astonishing experience of watching Michelle Williams transform herself  tends to block out everything else going on.

At one revealing moment, Monroe turns to Colin and asks, "Shall I be her?" And, instantly, she is.  The film's story has a few slow spots but it dazzles when Marilyn, ahem, Michelle Williams is on screen.  Perhaps the creators knew this.  They give us opening and closing music numbers to guarantee that this film is worth your big screen bucks.

 Simply put:  A simple story with one blonde ambition: Michelle Williams magically recreates Marilyn Monroe. 

Award potential:  Michelle Williams (Actress) and Kenneth Branagh (Supporting Actor) are  front-runners.  Judi Dench (better in J.Edgar) is less likely. Don't look for the screenplay to rise to the short list.

The ten buck review:  Worth ten bucks.

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