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My Week with Marilyn(2011)
Colin Clark met Marilyn Monroe while working as a young assistant on Laurence Olivier's "The Prince and the Showgirl." When Marilyn experienced emotional difficulties during shooting, the 23-year-old third assistant director came to her aid and romance developed. But one week of honesty and fun was not enough to save the doomed star from self-destruction.
For more about My Week with Marilyn and the My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray release, see My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on March 2, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Emma Watson, Judi Dench, Julia Ormond
Director: Simon Curtis
» See full cast & crew
My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray Review
An afternoon, a day, a week, a month, a year -- spend at least some time with this quality film.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, March 2, 2012
I didn't think she would be so beautiful.
Director Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn presents its audience with a side of a sex icon that's not readily-evident when she's projected up on the screen, pinned up on the wall, or sometimes even printed up in the history books. This film is a touching, sometimes challenging, and oftentimes riveting yet gentle and simple snapshot of a life in turmoil and the brief reprieve provided by the most unlikely of callers. The film's story is sourced from the writings of Colin Clark, the man who briefly swept a legend off her feet not with charm and gifts but rather sincerity and heart. His books The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn serve as the script's cornerstones, the two collected into one, the movie telling the story both of Clark's start in show business and his romantic interludes with Monroe. Superficially, it's another of those "business of show business" films, but such is merely a backdrop for the intoxicating drama that is the most improbable of romances between a nobody and an immortal legend, arguably the female face of the 20th century.
Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) is something of a black sheep in his family. His life is somewhat aimless, save for his desire to enter the film business. His father is a highly successful art historian and his brother seems always a step ahead. Colin's reprieve from the rigors of his family life come from the wonderful world of film, and he's determined to get his foot in the door, against his family's wishes and even considering the resistance he meets when he tries to make his way into the industry. Fortunately, his persistence pays off. He happens to meet Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh), and at the behest of Olivier's wife Vivien Leigh (Julia Ormond), Colin lands his first job in show business. His task: find a house in which Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and her new husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) may live in peace and quiet during the shoot. Colin does one better: he finds two houses, so that when the press sniffs out the first, Marilyn has a second to which she may retreat.
Initially, it seems overkill, but Marilyn's publicist, Arthur Jacobs (Toby Jones), is impressed. Colin suddenly finds himself promoted to Third Assistant Director on the film, even before Marilyn's arrival. Unfortunately for the starlet, she gets off to a rocky start. Even with her acting coach, Paula Strasberg (Zoë Wanamaker), at her side, she constantly flubs her lines, even in rehearsal. The seasoned Olivier is not impressed, to say the least. Yet the young Monroe's grace and beauty captivates the elder Sybil Thorndike (Judi Dench), a seasoned thespian who encourages Marilyn with every botched line. Nevertheless, Olivier's short tolerance for imperfection soon wears Monroe down. But she doesn't seek solace from her husband, acting coach, or publicist, but rather in the young and wet-behind-the-ears Colin, a man in whom she sees a gentle soul and a person not in awe of the Marilyn Monroe persona, but a man falling for the girl she hasn't been in years and likely never will be again. Can her relationship with Colin -- away from the press, the camera, and her demanding co-stars -- save the film and offer her at least a fleeting memory of what was and may have been?
My Week With Marilyn maneuvers through many dramatic elements and its fair share of emotional currents. The movie is easy and playful in one scene, dramatically challenging in another, heartfelt and true elsewhere, tragic at times, and once or twice melancholy. Yet no matter the metaphoric weather, the film remains balanced in form and story. It flows remarkably well, plays naturally, and positively envelops its audience into the time and place and positions them in-frame with the characters, not just showing them from afar. Indeed, Director Simon Curtis makes it easy for the audience to become absorbed and lost into the film; the film plays with a personal touch and makes its audience feel as if they have come to know the characters not only on a superficial level, but a deeper one, discovering who they are inside, the deeper, true people who are lost to the glamour and public personas which have made them successes on the outside but led them cold and astray on the inside. That's the key to the entire picture; My Week with Marilyn isn't about "Marilyn Monroe." It's about "Marilyn," the girl behind the public image, underneath the makeup, away from the limelight, out of the camera's line of sight. Through her romance with Colin, the movie explores the real person, lost to fame but yearning to be freed, or at least granted a reprieve, from what has become her life.
My Week with Marilyn works on a number of ancillary levels, too, beyond the personal drama. The picture succeeds in its depiction of period filmmaking and the fundamental challenges of pitting a starlet with sex appeal and screen presence but no real acting skills against a classical, unflappable actor, or unflappable until he's forced to endure his co-star's substandard acting. Kenneth Branagh plays very well opposite Michelle Williams, the dynamic between them the driving force behind the film, his discontent and disapproval of her methods and performances the wedge which opens the space through which Colin slips into Marilyn's life. Eddie Redmayne is superb as Colin, the young, somewhat naive newcomer to film who is in awe of where he is and who he attracts, but he's not so much in awe that he either fails to appreciate the company of Marilyn or changes his persona to suit what he thinks she really wants. On the contrary, it's his steadiness -- his eagerness, even -- to stay true to himself and love Marilyn, not just love the idea of being with a starlet that sets the stage for the beautiful dynamic. The two enjoy sparkling chemistry together, every scene proving infinitely believable and sincere. This leads to incredibly tender moments and flashes of a wide-open Marilyn Monroe, not literally but figuratively, the character opening her heart to a man who wants the woman inside, not the body that everyone else worships.
My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray, Video Quality
My Week with Marilyn features a steady and film-accurate 1080p Blu-ray transfer. It's not the absolute sharpest image out there -- it's a hair soft around the edges in spots -- but it is technically strong and boasts great clarity. Fine detail ranges from excellent to exemplary. The transfer easily reveals the textures on heavy period suit jackets, wrinkly facial textures on older actors, and the complexities and roughness of brick façades. Likewise, the color palette is even and impressive, whether in the bright outdoors or darkened screening rooms. Black levels are pretty much spot-on, ditto flesh tones. A light and consistent grain structure aids in the presentation of a quality and natural film-like texture. Light banding is evident in a handful of shots, but the image is otherwise free of harsh visual trouble spots. This is a fine presentation of a high quality film.
My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray, Audio Quality
My Week with Marilyn arrives on Blu-ray with a quality DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The opening seconds of score play with a hushed presence, but it quickly opens up to a good, upbeat Jazz number that plays with fine clarity, good spacing, and a superb bass line. Music throughout the picture enjoys much of the same, particularly in terms of pinpoint clarity and spacing, though not quite to the level where the speakers disappear and the track becomes largely real in tenor. The track also enjoys good, crisp sound effects, whether the piercing and sonically-accurate ringing of the bell on the set of the film or the din of an excited press corps with flash bulbs popping and questions screamed into the air. Gentler sound effects -- the humming of a projector, light city ambience made of honking horns and maneuvering vehicles -- proves equally effective. Generally, however, the track is made of positive, clear, and center-focused dialogue. This track is stable and serves the movie well, even if it by design lacks a heavy surround element and larger, more robust sound effects and music.
My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
My Week with Marilyn contains only two extras. A DVD copy is also included.
My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
My Week with Marilyn is a splendid movie about moviemaking, stardom, and true love. It's tender, tragic, funny, delightful, and sincere all at once. The cast is fabulous, the direction simply enveloping, and the movie a delightful experience about the side of a star rarely captured with such openness and honesty. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of My Week with Marilyn features quality video and audio to go along with two solid extras. Recommended.
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My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: My Week with Marilyn - March 5, 2012
Blu-ray.com, The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment are offering three Blu-ray.com members the opportunity to win a copy of My Week with Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, with a performance that earned her a Best Actress nomination. ...
• My Week with Marilyn Blu-ray - January 4, 2012
In an early announcement to retailers, The Weinstein Company has revealed that it plans to release on Blu-ray director Simon Curtis' My Week With Marilyn (2011), starring Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Ormond, Judi Dench, and Kenneth Branagh. Based on ...
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