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My Week With Marilyn

Reviews
by Melissa Silverstein
November 28, 2011 12:45 PM
2 Comments
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The sad reality that I admitting to here is that I really don't know much about Marilyn Monroe. Here's what I knew before I saw the film.  She died of a drug overdose realtively young.  She sang happy birthday to JFK in the 60s and supposedly had an affair with him.  She seemed really sad.  She was a size 16 (in today's movie star world she would be deemed too fat.) And two of her husbands were playwright Arthur Miller and baseball player Joe DiMaggio - two very, very different men. 

And she was a huge star.  Watching the film you see she was one of the first woman in our culture who just was larger than life.  Larger than herself.  An icon.  Huge.  The film shows the toll it takes on the real person living life in the spotlight.  It asks the question where does Marilyn the star end and where does Marilyn the woman begin?  Are they the same? 

The arrival of My Week with Marilyn in theaters as of Thanksgiving gave me the opportunity to see the incomparable Michelle Williams take on a very different role than we are used to see her in of late.  Williams has known for her intense dramas like Wendy and Lucy and Blue Valentine.  I don't think I am going out on a limb by saying that she is one of the best and most versatile of her generation.  She is so good in everything she does, and in My Week With Marilyn she gives another outstanding and very different performance.  She gives one of those performances where you can't take your eyes off of her. 

The film made me think about this woman who wanted to be accepted as an actress and not just as an icon.  That was a really tough sell.  The movie shows her trying to figure this out but she gets in her own way.  She's got many issues related to her self-esteem and never feeling good enough and she self sabotages.  Then there are all the enablers around her who don't help at all even if they think they are helping.  Her relationship with Arthur Miller in the movie is not happy, he was a dick to her, and this was when they were newlyweds.

The film inspired me to take a look at her films.  I want to see what kind of actress she was.   I really appreciate that this film has brought this woman back to the fore for a new generation.

(Full disclosure: I am putting together a screening for the Weinstein company for this film.  This review was written and scheduled for posting (but not read) before I became engaged on the film.)

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2 Comments

  • Bob Giovanelli | November 29, 2011 7:18 PMReply

    Someone who writes for Spout...a film site...and puts together film screenings for people like the Weinsteins....and to have never seen a film with Marilyn? There's an example of today's younger generation being quite ignorant of some of the most important film icons (actors as well as directors) before entering the biz these days. "sigh"...

  • DomizianoA | November 28, 2011 10:05 PMReply

    Uhm... truly reminds me, How wrong reviewers were, back then,by going down so harsh, on Monroe,as a main designated victim, of that 'evil and vile society'(Hollywood in the 1950's,but the World itself,as well!) just because she was one of the first real actresses,a more instinctual, and naturalistic example of also a more modern,and free spirited type of woman, and,of Blond,too,of course! Like, even in a few Harlow's attempts, Marilyn,besides, being a 'natural' for the screen, was also,truly, always bringing, to her so-called-characters, a much more genuine, and in depth acting,than any other Major Star,before her! What the Hell were they thinking(at the Academy,I mean!) ,when they did not nominate Marilyn's haunting,tragic,funny,irresistible,heartfelt work, in the great,touching,still very watchable, Joshua Logan's "Bus Stop",and, instead,nominated an even more wooden than usual,Grace Kelly, in "The Swan"(her last picture filmed in 1956,before marrying Prince Ranieri of Monaco) another tragic Fox effort: sadly,the same Studio, that was banking on Monroe's universal box office appeal,was always almost ashamed of her,always promoting other,much more inferior actresses performances. Ah Times..
    If Hollywood's always been so hypocrite to deny Monroe, the status of Super Star,besides the one of mere 'Sex Symbol', throughout the whole 1950's,at least,was showing- in the 1930's- that there was still plenty of people recognizing then, Harlow or Lombard(other 2 great blond actresses) some talent! It's been moving backwards, in a way:How terrible! And, if we talk feminism and emancipation,It would be also worth mentioning, that Monroe was the first major Star to strike personally against a Studio, re-negotiating a contract, getting incorporated, and choosing Directors who could, at least 'Direct' her in decent vehicles! Too Bad,that just, when, She was about to get finally 'recognized' in the early 1960's(Her casting in a completely different role, and look, still gorgeous,but way classier and more modern,in Cukor's "Something's got to Give", was in fact, a real brave, and, finally,rewarding attempt given to the Star from her Studio!) ,as the Great Actress and Screen Leading Lady,she'd been, and she always will be, that constant Battle against the World, and maybe, against life itself,had thorn Marilyn to pieces,and,tragically, she was never able to complete her work in her last picture,nor to, finally, 'proof'' her victory, in a whole new series of movie vehicles, 'thought' to use and showcase the incredibly different weight and introspection, she was at that point, totally,able to represent.
    But, that was "her Destiny".. and, like all Hollywood worst nightmares, She immediately became a Fairy Tale, and one of the most bankable and resourceful Legends, ever: I'd say that, it is, in fact with Monroe, that Studios learned the Importance of Merchandising! Poor Marilyn!
    At least, She's still one of the most Recognizable faces all over the planet! But,at What Price,Glory? Marilyn was already a terrific comedic actress, and dancer, and singer,and She had broken,in many ways,even by marrying the leftist, and greatest American intellectual of that Time, Arthur Miller,and, never compromising with Studio's offers,many barriers,already, and just, for all the generations, Ahead!
    But,then again, You admit not to know anything about this.. So, that is what Movies&Fame Bring to us,I guess, What we know,it's very limited,Superficiality still reigns, and Memory is never a virtue, although many have fought for it!

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