Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Marilyn, Marvelously

Marilyn Monroe is a 20th century icon that portraying her would be a kiss of death for a lesser actress. But Michele Williams is a thinking actress, and she chooses to go the subtle route - a laugh while she raises her head, an eyebrow raised - that she totally embodies Marilyn, even if physically they don't really look alike. Minutes into watching the movie, you will not even care about that, because you believe Michele Williams is Marilyn Monroe. And i believe every second of Monroe's characterization here, for I have met artists just like her that it's almost a cliche. They are tortured characters, consumed by their talent, dependent on hangers on, tough and difficult to deal with but when they are on their game, totally irresistible, like a flickering flame that's so beautiful to look at yet hot to the touch as you come nearer.  In that sense, the Marilyn Monroe here is as real as real gets. But this movie is also about Colin Clark, and the friendship he forged with her while she was filming "The Prince And The Showgirl" in England with Sir Laurence Olivier.  Some historians have expressed some doubts as to the authenticity of his story, but in the end, this is a wonderful story of first love. I don't care if it's real, fabricated, fiction - it is sincere, and sweet, and touching - just like this movie. This is one of those "small" movies that deal with real human emotions, and about how people each touch our lives and changes us. Anchored by Michele WIlliams' Marilyn, this is as perfect as a cast gets. Eddie Redemeyer is perfect as the young man who falls madly in love with Marilyn Monroe, or at least the concept of her. Kenneth Branagh is wonderfully over-the-top, and Dame Judi Dench as Sybil Thorndike is a perfect picture of royal elegance. I sincerely hope these people get Oscar nominations and in an overcrowded field they don't get lost in the shuffle. All I know is that I now know who I will be rooting for Best Actress at The Oscars. 

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