A common trick often employed by storytellers - when dealing with a highly influential artist and/or one with a larger-than-life personality - is to examine said individual from the perspective of a more relatable everyman character. It's an approach that's been put to good use many times before, be it to tell either a fictional story (see: Me and Orson Welles) or one more rooted in truth (see: the Leo/Lev Tolstoy biopic, The Last Station).
This year's My Week with Marilyn looks to use that same narrative formula to tell a true-life story that involves famed (or, rather, infamous) troubled Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe. But, based on the film's trailer, does the final product look promising?
The answer is "thankfully, yes," if only because the legendary Lady Monroe is being played by multiple Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams: an actress who's been delivering emotionally-resonant performances for years now - be it in a supporting part (see: Brokeback Mountain, Shutter Island) or as the leading lady of a film (see: Wendy and Lucy, Blue Valentine). Don't be surprised if Williams snags a third Oscar nod (or more) for her turn as the troubled, platinum-blonde gal called Marilyn.
On that note - here is the official synopsis for My Week with Marilyn:
In the early summer of 1956, 23 year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. The film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Williams), who was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott).
Nearly 40 years on, his diary account "The Prince, the Showgirl and Me" was published, but one week was missing and this was published some years later as "My Week with Marilyn" – this is the story of that week. When Arthur Miller leaves England, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce Marilyn to some of the pleasures of British life; an idyllic week in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of work.
Now check out the My Week with Marilyn trailer (via Yahoo! Movies) below:
As you undoubtedly picked up after watching that theatrical preview, My Week with Marilyn is one of those period dramas that boasts actors or actresses who almost never turn in a bad performance - including Williams, Branagh, Judi Dench (the James Bond franchise), and Toby Jones (The Hunger Games). The film's cast also features recognizable faces (and often-solid stars) like Dominic Cooper (Captain America), Emma Watson (the Harry Potter series), Julia Ormond (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2), and Redmayne (The Yellow Handkerchief) as the aforementioned "everyman" of the film.
My Week with Marilyn helmer Simon Curtis has worked primarily in the TV medium in the past - and, based on the footage show here, it kind of shows. The film still looks fairly well-shot and edited - with some colorful imagery and accurate production design to boot - but there's definitely less visual flair and technical proficiency on display here than what's been shown in the trailers for other upcoming awards-hopeful period dramas from better-known directors (see: J. Edgar, War Horse).
All the same, though, Curtis' films still looks to be as well-acted as any other upcoming drama. So don't be surprised if Williams as Monroe causes critics to turn their head and take notice.
My Week with Marilyn arrives in U.S. theaters on November 4th, 2011.
Source: Yahoo! Movies