My Week With Marilyn

 
Appealing Monroe drama has strong language, some sexuality.
  • Review Date: November 23, 2011
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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).

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").

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?

QUALITY
 

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?

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:November 23, 2011
DVD release date:March 13, 2012
Cast:Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Williams
Director:Simon Curtis
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Drama
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some language

This review of My Week With Marilyn was written by

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byharrypotter13 December 31, 2011
age 11+
 

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 life, and their going to hear it many more times. Might as well get used to it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bychristian2011 December 24, 2011
age 15+
 

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 the film, such as multiple uses of the f--k, s--t, and some religious profanities. There is some sexual humor and dialogue mostly said by Marilyn Monroe and her fans, not too sexual or explicit. In the violence category, there are some heated arguments between Marilyn and Colin which can disturb some viewers. Also, there is some nudity in the film, but doesn't show it graphically, just briefly, like the backside of Marilyn in the shower and skinny dipping in the lake. The main precaution you all should notify your kids is the graphic strong language in this film.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byryanasaurus0077 December 18, 2011
age 10+
 

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 the first example of a Marilyn fic, courtesy of main character Colin Clark. This is his story about how he served as third assistant director for The Prince and the Showgirl (definitely true) and dated Marilyn Monroe (not verified as of writing). As expected, Marilyn is a bit sensual, and there is quite a bit of smoking (including a plug for Sir Laurence Olivier; I'm not kidding, he actually had his own cigarette brand back in the day), but it's the swearing we should worry about when we consider taking our kids to see this (it is rated R for a reason, after all, and surprisingly, Marilyn's nude scene during that date with Colin isn't it). Among the swearing is several F words, mostly out of Sir Laurence's mouth, and a bunch of minor swears scattered throughout, including a single use of "bugger" by Emma Watson as the mildly jealous wardrobe assistant, Lucy (it certainly charmed my socks off hearing that word coming out of her mouth after an earlier co-star of hers, Rupert Grint, said the F word in Driving Lessons and the S word in that and Wild Target). If you see it in theaters, take the kids along, but be cautious of Marilyn's aforementioned nude scene at the lake and that a Shakespearean actor says the F word a few times. If you buy the DVD, all you need is an external profanity filter so your young ones won't hear Sir Laurence throwing F words around sporadically, but you should still exercise caution about the aforementioned nude scene (which, barring the F words, would've netted this a PG-13 rating easily).
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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