There are many reasons for the sheer brilliance of the My Week With Marilyn DVD, which had its home entertainment release on the 16th March 2012. The most important, though, is the fact that Michelle Williams’ performance as Marilyn Monroe is as close to perfection as it could have been.
Nearly indistinguishable from the screen icon herself, Williams draws you into the character portrayal so well, you forget that you’re watching a DVD dramatization. Instead, it feels more like a digitally remastered version of reality with every move looking like it was taken directly from the Norma Jean playlist.
The BBC film is based on two books written by Colin Clark – The Prince, the Showgirl and Me and My Week With Marilyn – in which he recounts the story of his first job as the third assistant director for the film, The Prince and the Showgirl, which starred Marilyn Monroe. Played faultlessly by Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything), Colin dives head long into the world of movies with Lawrence Olivier, played theatrically by Kenneth Branagh, as the eponymous prince and director of the 1957 British romcom. Getting closer and closer to Monroe, Colin finds himself in a world of wonder on location for the film.
The sets are completely believable and add weight to some of the best acting performances of 2011. Branagh finally puts the dark days of Wild Wild West behind him with his portrayal of the frustrated, aging Larry, and Julia Ormond sweeps in to add the fading glamour of his wife Vivienne Lee.
Judi Dench makes an impeccable Sybil Thorndike, despite not being able to shoot her parts at the same time as the rest of the cast due to other commitments. Instead, her scenes were shot alone ahead of the main filming according to Patrick Tucker, who discusses the situation in his book Secrets of Screen Acting.
Emma Watson does a lot to add maturity to her potential future in film with her role as Colin’s early love interest, Lucy, a wardrobe assistant on the production. It was never going to be easy to move away from the typecasting of Hermione Granger, but she looks set to do just that if her performance on the My Week With Marilyn DVD is anything to go by.
Dougray Scott (Enigma) makes for a very serious Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe’s husband at the time, and Zoë Wanamaker is intense and attentive as her acting coach Paula Strasberg.
The style, acting skills and beauty of the film makes it an instant hit. Michelle Williams’ performance as Marilyn Monroe means that it’ll be the kind of DVD that you’ll happily put on again for years to come. Add to that Alexandre Desplat’s (Moonrise Kingdom) music and you’ve got a diamond of an addition to the collection.
Simon Curtis does a very good job of stringing everything together from the director’s chair, building on the quality of the screenplay, which was written by Adrian Hodges. The movie went on to win a Golden Globe for Williams (Blue Valentine) as Best Actress and two nominations in the 84th Academy Awards, one for Williams, again in the Best Actress category, and another for Kenneth Branagh for Supporting Actor.
The My Week With Marilyn DVD also comes with two special features that are well worth watching. The first is The Untold Story of an American Icon, giving you some background on Marilyn in a new light. The second is the Director’s Commentary where you can hear Simon Curtis talking through the production to get more insight into the creation of the film. You can also find out more about the life of Colin Clark on his Wikipedia page.
My Week With Marilyn DVD review: 5/5