Spend the Weekend with Marilyn
By Todd A. Smith
Many men will not be intrigued with My Week with Marilyn. But most men are probably intrigued by the life and beauty of Marilyn Monroe.
Monroe was the quintessential Hollywood beauty, and the precedent to which Hollywood still bases its standard of beauty. She was one of the first sex symbols in Hollywood, and while most people know who Monroe was, most probably do not know the real person behind the persona. My Week with Marilyn does a good job portraying what can happen when our stars are seen as products and not people, and maintaining their image and celebrity destroys their life.
Colin Clark, played by Eddie Redmayne, was one of the many who fell in love with Monroe at the height of her popularity, but was one of the few who spent quality time with her and got to know her.
Although Colin came from an affluent family, he was determined to make a name for himself in the film industry. He takes a position in London as “third assistant director” to Sir Laurence Olivier. He is the legendary thespian’s gopher during the production of a film called The Sleeping Prince starring Monroe, played effectively by Michelle Williams (“Dawson’s Creek”).
Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Monroe are at crossroads in their career. Olivier wants to be seen as a movie star and Monroe wants to be seen as a serious actress. The stress that comes with respectability is too much for the American beauty, and she finds solace in an acting coach who is more of a motivational speaker and in the bottle, which she relies on to function. Monroe’s handlers even admit to keeping her doped up so they can keep the cash cow moving forward.
Meanwhile, Monroe’s marriage to Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) begins to unravel. “They always look good at the start,” Marilyn says about finding Mr. Right. She begins to find peace hanging with Colin, although his responsibility is looking out for Olivier. Predictably, Colin falls for the American beauty, but he is lucky to discover a side of Marilyn that is absent on the big screen, the vulnerable side.
Although she is loved by millions, Marilyn does not have the confidence that many see portrayed in her sexy movie roles. She desperately wants to find happiness in love and her career, but suffers from unbelief and doubt. However, what she briefly finds in Colin is someone who sees past the glamorous Hollywood persona and sees the real person.
They believe in each other in a profession that is both unstable and unpredictable. While most are only captivated by her beauty and sensuality, Colin finds a deeper relationship during his week with Marilyn, but predictably, that is all the time he gets with the sex symbol.
Monroe’s story would come to a tragic end and Clark would go on to become a successful documentary filmmaker. Nevertheless, his one week with the film star was probably the highlight of his career, as documented in My Week with Marilyn.
The film My Week with Marilyn is a good, but not great feature. Williams will most definitely be nominated for an Academy Award, but her performance pales in comparison to such actresses as Viola Davis in The Help.
Nevertheless, just as people are still fascinated by the life of Marilyn Monroe, moviegoers will definitely be fascinated about a film on her life.
Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.
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