NYFF Spotlight: My Week With Marilyn
Posted by Fabian Baez on 9.19.2011
Why you should see it:
First a few necessary particulars. The film is based on memoirs by Colin Clark. Clark was Laurence Olivier’s assistant during his 1957 feature production The Prince and the Showgirl, which Olivier directed, produced and starred in alongside Marilyn Monroe. The movie received critical acclaim, did strong business and secured five BAFTA nominations. When you think iconic sex symbols, we all know very well who heads that list. Marilyn Monroe was equal parts drop dead beauty and accomplished artist. My Week With Marilyn examines the well-documented battle between Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) over her working methods and personality. In addition, the film takes an intriguing look at the starlet’s humanity, showing a side of Monroe practically never seen before. Obviously these are huge shoes for an actress to fill, but two-time Academy Award-nominated Williams always delivers. My Week with Marilyn also offers a stellar supporting cast including: Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Zoë Wanamaker, Dominic Cooper and Eddie Redmayne as “Colin Clark.”
The film will have its world premiere at the 49th New York Film Festival.
About the director:
Simon Curtis has produced and directed numerous British television projects such as Cranford, Hunter (both mini-series) and A Short Stay in Switzerland. My Week with Marilyn marks his first theatrical feature.
What the NYFF programmers say:
"My Week with Marilyn is our Centerpiece film. This is by a relatively new director, though he has a career in British television, Simon Curtis. The story deals with the time that Marilyn Monroe spent in England working on the film The Prince and the Showgirl, which was directed by and starred Laurence Olivier. At the time, the pairing was much discussed: Laurence Olivier—perhaps at that point the world’s most famous classical actor—and Marilyn Monroe, Hollywood’s biggest star at that moment, coming together. As you can imagine, there were a lot of fireworks—some out in the open, others more behind the scenes. During all this, a young man who was one of Olivier’s assistants actually grew very close to her at that time. This film is based on his memoir of the shoot itself. Michelle Williams plays Marilyn Monroe, in a truly Oscar-worthy performance. I think that she is probably the early favorite for it. It’s the first time, really, I’ve seen Monroe or a Monroe-like character portrayed as anything but caricature. It’s truly a great performance. Kenneth Branagh plays Laurence Olivier, which is interesting since he is clearly his idol, so it’s curious to see him enacting that role. All in all, a very strong film." —Richard Peña, Program Director