My Week with Marilyn stars Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Redmayne; Simon Curtis directs.
The Setup: Based on the memoir of Colin Clark (played by Eddie Redmayne), My Week with Marilyn chronicles Clark's unexpected friendship with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) during the 1956 filming of The Prince and the Showgirl in England. It was a heady time for the actress. It was Monroe's first trip to England, she was starring opposite Laurence Olivier and had just married playwright Arthur Miller. But Monroe was still plagued with self-doubt, and there were difficulties on the set (her being late or missing calls). She latches on to Clark, the third assistant director, and proceeds to enchant him, much to the chagrin of her director and co-stars who were left waiting on the set.
The Execution: There's a phrase in the film that neatly sums up Williams's performance, "such sweet despair." She perfectly captures Monroe's fragility and ability to manipulate those around her; Monroe can turn her movie star personality on and off at will, one moment walking along anonymously, the next attracting crowds of people.
Redmayne as the young and naive Clark is sufficiently dazzled by Monroe and yet summons up the bravado to assume to be able to rescue her from what he sees as the trappings of fame. He's warned off by a host of people, but, of course, doesn't listen.
The Extras: There's audio commentary by director Simon Curtis and a 19-minute featurette, The Untold Story of an American Icon.
Also out this week: The Descendants with George Clooney and Judy Greer.