My Week With Marilyn

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
My Week With Marilyn Movie Poster Image
Appealing Monroe drama has strong language, some sexuality.
  • R
  • 2011
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's main message is that you don't always need to look for adventure; sometimes, it finds you. All you need to do is let yourself experience it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The film is based on Colin Clark's memoirs and is told from his point of view. This helps make him a sympathetic figure, one who's able to look past Marilyn's blinding fame and beauty and connect with the person underneath the facade. An older actress treats Marilyn with kindness and patience and encourages everyone else to do so, too. Monroe herself is portrayed as a mix of vulnerability, sadness and kindness, but well aware of her power.

Violence

Arguments.

Sex

A man catches a glimpse of a woman as she's getting out of the shower (viewers see her naked from behind). She's also seen, her backside visible, walking into a lake to go skinny-dipping. She's married but kisses a man who's not her husband. Some references to married people having affairs.

Language

Words including "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "hell," "damn," and "ass" are used several times. Also "for God's sake," etc. as exclamations.

Consumerism

No heavy-handed label-dropping, but there's an awareness of how celebrities are commodified.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Plenty of period-accurate smoking and drinking. Marilyn is also shown pill-popping (and her associates discuss needing to give her pills).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this engrossing movie based on the memoirs of writer-director Colin Clark isn't so much a biopic as a window into a week of Marilyn Monroe's life as interpreted by Clark. It's not a salacious account, but there are hints at how the icon traded on her sexuality (complete with a couple of glimpses of Monroe, as played by Michelle Williams, naked from behind). You can also expect plenty of smoking, cocktail drinking, and swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychristian2011 December 24, 2011

Great biography film. Suitable for teens 15+

This movie is about a short-term relationship between Colin Clark and Marilyn Monroe who has their downs and turn ups. There is some strong vulgar language in t... Continue reading
Adult Written byryanasaurus0077 December 18, 2011

Trying to date Marilyn may break your heart a little, but this is arthouse filmmaking at its most romantic

Even if it is based on a great big lie, My Week with Marilyn is nevertheless great in its own way. If this is a lie, it's a darn good one, being possibly t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byharrypotter13 December 31, 2011

great movie, nothing to sensual, language!

Great movie! The sexualness may be a little overboard, but nothing too bad! I think once kids are aware of swears, that shouldn't be a big worry. It's... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBestPicture1996 January 1, 2012

"Marilyn" is the year's best biopic!

It's pretty hard not to fall in love with this little indie British film about one of America's true icons. Michelle Williams will be ROBBED if she d... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the summer of 1956, actress Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) flew to England to film a movie with iconic British thespian Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). The film was meant to cement Olivier's stature as the best actor of his generation in a totally different medium -- he was the master of the stage, not the screen -- and Monroe as an actress of substance, not just one to be appreciated for her physical gifts. But by many accounts, it was a difficult shoot. Monroe, newly married to playwright Arthur Miller, was apparently already sensing estrangement in her relationship; she was also anxious about doing well and relied heavily on her acting coach for support. Into the mix comes Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), on whose memoirs MY WEEK WITH MARILYN is based. Decades before becoming known as a director and writer, the aristocratic Clark was just beginning his career in the movies. And what a start it was, spending a week becoming Monroe's confidante and suitor.

Is it any good?

Redmayne is a chameleon of an actor, sometimes gritty, sometimes noble. Here he's a naif of sorts -- albeit one with noble lineage -- who finds himself struck by the phenomenon that is Marilyn Monroe. It's Redmayne's ability to come across as both in awe and yet completely in touch with Monroe's vulnerability that endears him here and makes him completely believable as Clark. It must help to have the seasoned Branagh and Dame Judi Dench to work with -- and, even more impressively, Williams, who has found a way to become a Marilyn who still holds a mystery, despite pop culture's endless examination of the actress and her life. What Williams manages to really sell is Monroe's simultaneous innocence and canniness -- a major feat.

 

The screenplay errs on the side of thin; we don't really get to know (or understand) Clark or his motivations for certain choices. At times, you can't help but wonder whether the vantage point from which you're watching things unfold is ever going to be questioned, and the film often seems in awe of Marilyn when we long to really get to know her. But, then again, can that be helped? Wasn't that precisely the hold the actress had on everyone in her orbit?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Marilyn Monroe continues to be an icon. What is her lasting appeal? Can she be considered a role model?

  • Does Monroe seem aware of her magic in this movie? Does the film advance her status as an icon or demystify her in any way? How?

  • Do you think it's necessary for movies set in the 1950s to include lots of smoking and drinking? Why or why not?

Movie details

For kids who love stories about real people

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