Saturday, December 3, 2011

Marilyn Monroe..."it" quality elusive in "My Week with Marilyn"! Michelle Wiliams stumbles!

Although critics have been raving about the new flick "My Week with Marilyn" - and especially Michelle William's characterization of the troubled sex Goddess - the truth rings out crystal clear by the time the curtain falls on this little gem.

Marilyn Monroe possessed an indefinable quality - an "it" factor - that illuminated the screen.

In the  slick just-released Weinstein production, it remains elusive however, for obvious reasons.

For starters, the screen siren's qualities (unique to her persona) can never be duplicated in spite of the fact many have tried over the years to accomplish that feat in Hollywood and abroad.

Bottom line?

Ms. Williams can not hold a candle to Monroe's mystique (or allure) - so, talented as she is - it was inevitable that the starlet would stumble from the get-go.

Reenacted scenes (featuring impersonators in flashbacks) also lacked the magic of the original footage, too.  So, a handful of the comments uttered up as raves in the screening-room scenes don't make any sense (or hold up) either.

There are intimate moments when Ms. Williams reveals a vulnerability that speaks volumes, but those fleeting glimpses are few-and-far between, sadly.

One has to surmise that the segments were simply flukes lifted from endless takes shot throughout the course of a long weary day on a sound stage.

The script was adapted from a published memoir of a stage hand who befriended (wooed?) Ms. Monroe during the shoot for "The Prince and the Showgirl" in which she starred opposite Sir Laurence Olivier (played gamely by English actor Kenneth Branagh).

Titillated producers tossed the glare of the spotlight on the behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt which focuses on Marilyn's difficulty arriving to work on time, her notorious insecurities, and alleged general lack of professionalism towards fellow cast members and the crew.

Weinstein and his team have also taken artistic license here, and sought to perpetuate their own myths and theories on the ill-fated Monroe/Olivier pairing.

According to the writers, Olivier orchestrated the project (and Monroe's casting) so he could elevate his own status into the realms of filmdom (until that time, the legendary Olivier was exalted as a great actor only on stage).

Did the conniving opportunist expect to suddenly ooze star charisma by virute of the process of osmosis alone?

In fact, the embarrassing stumbles at the start-up of the Pinewood Studio's production, caused the gifted actor to question - not only the project - but his own talents in the final analysis.

In contrast, Ms. Monroe sought to improve on her acting craft through "the method" and "technique" with the ultimate aim of achieving credibility in the industry-at-large as a serious actress (and not simply a piece of "ass" or sexy set dressing).

I am reminded of an old saying:

"The grass is always greener on the other side"

By the end of the classy well-produced feature (the cinematography is flawless), the orbiting stars come to accept their baggage and relax into their respective show-biz skins.

"My Week with Marilyn" is fast-paced, engrossing at times, and delightfully fun.

The cast of supporting players (Eddie Redmaybe does a star-turn here) are excellent, too.

Worth the price of admission, for sure.

3 Stars!

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