March 1, 2012

My piece on the Michelle Williams starrer is now up on the website.

I find myself wondering if ScarJo could have done a better job than Williams. She’s certainly more anatomically correct for the role but with the Golden Globe win I think it was a triumph of foresight and instinct that the producers actually picked Williams. Who woulda thunk she had that body under all that Dawson’s Creek cuteness? Anyway, see it on a date night and get blown away.

Movie review: To love the blonde in ‘My Week With Marilyn’

BY KARL R. DE MESA March 1, 2012 10:54am
I have always been of two minds about historical films.

The necessary revisionism of facts for dramatic purposes for film adaptations and the tendency for the viewing public out of a willingness to be guiled or just simple ennui to take it as narrative gospel of “what really happened back then” makes me wary. Historical biopics double the gamble; see the prone to Titanic-style listing, Howard Hughes movie “The Aviator” or, even more recently, “The Social Network.” Never mind that the former was a Scorsese film.
So, seeing “My Week With Marilyn,” I was surprised to find that myth, fact and the kind of fantastiquewishful thinking that accrue around such legends like Marilyn are perfectly balanced in their tensions, like three devils trying to fit into a narrow door all at once and none getting through.
Having previously read Joyce Carol Oates’ wonderfully scathing and tongue in cheek, fictionalized “Blonde,” along with a few “official” biographies, I was able to gain a leg up on the film’s narrative tactic. This movie is based on the similarly titled book by Colin Clark, which itself was a follow-up release of his diary account “The Prince, the Showgirl and Me,” published 40 years ago. I plan to add that to my reading list.
Britain as starting point

We open in Britain, with the well to do (they live in a castle), born of fringe British royalty, and educated Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne). He loves the “pictures” and is determined to make his way into the industry. Because of his family’s stature, he recently met Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) at a party, who mentioned that there might be a position open in his upcoming production.
What does Clark do? He hangs around the studio offices until he lands a job as the third assistant director. So this is how, in the summer of 1956, the 23-year-old Clark found himself just down from Oxford and on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl.”
The star from overseas, Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams), arrives with much fanfare accompanied by her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). Just a few weeks into her third marriage, the couple are on their “working honeymoon.”
As the filming progresses, Arthur Miller leaves England to go back Stateside to see his children. Leaving Marilyn a pill-popping mess, Clark is assigned by Olivier to look after the well-being of their super-sensitive star. Clark introduces Marilyn to the pleasures of British life even as he, inevitably, falls in love with her. She takes a great liking to the young man and makes him spend an idyllic week as her escort.
At once a coming of age, a look inside a movie production set, and the agony and ecstasy of celebrity, the film depicts Marilyn as both dream and nightmare. Even her husband flees to escape her might and the gargantuan amount of attention she requires on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Marilyn is desperate to get away from her entourage of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of work.
To read the rest click HERE.



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