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My Week With Marilyn—(Blonde on Blonde)

This story is supposedly true. Doesn’t matter. True or not, it’s a good story.

How big a star was Marilyn Monroe in the 1950’s? Ask your grandfather. He’ll tell you. Mainstream movies did not have nude scenes in the 50’s. But they did have Marilyn. With her blonde hair, big lips and voluptuous body, she exuded sex. She was a megastar.

Michelle Williams is not a dead ringer for Marilyn, but the hair and makeup people and the costumers give her the Marilyn look. What she does with that look is amazing. She brings the Marilyn persona to life, complete with her insecurities and fragile ego. This is an impressive performance. Award-worthy? Yes.

British actor Eddie Redmayne stars as Colin, a recent college grad who nabs a gig as third assistant director on the movie “The Prince and the Showgirl.” His duties as a “go-fer” eventually include tending to many of Marilyn’s needs, much to the dismay of her longtime support team. He provides companionship and emotional support during an uncomfortable episode in her life and career. Quite a heady experience for a 23-year-old in 1956!

“The Prince and the Showgirl” matched Marilyn with Laurence Olivier, who starred and directed. He needed her for her beauty and sex appeal; she needed him to certify her talent as an actress. Their relationship was stormy due to his being upset with her tardiness and failure to remember lines. She, meanwhile, was intimidated by his legend and strict demands. Kenneth Branagh does an excellent job portraying Olivier.

In “My Week with Marilyn,” however, as in “The Prince and the Showgirl,” the blonde bombshell upstages the British acting legend. These movies belong to Michelle/Marilyn.

Of special note in “My Week with Marilyn” is Emma Watson’s debut in a non-Hermione Granger role. She has a minor part as a costumer who competes with Marilyn for Colin’s time and attention. She picked a good movie to begin her transition.

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