I expected less from this film.  The preview trailer makes it look like a frothy, romantic comedy, but My Week With Marilyn is much richer and deeper – it’s a must-see for movie buffs.

Michelle Williams may not look exactly like Marilyn Monroe, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone could do a better job evoking the complex and iconic superstar.

That performance is one key to the success of the film, but the script (adapted by Adrian Hodges and Colin Clark from the latter’s memoir) is nuanced and engaging while also revealing a great deal about the elusive Monroe, her craft, her relationships, and her insecurities.

Similarly, the film presents an unusual coming-of-age story from Clark’s perspective (Eddie Redmayne plays the role) that feels emotionally authentic.  I did not know this story before seeing the film.

It’s tempting to compare this film to the 2008 release Me and Orson Welles, which I also enjoyed, but I think My Week With Marilyn has a broader appeal.

The success of Me and Orson Welles, I think, depends to a degree of how much knowledge about Welles and his work the viewer brings to the screen.  Similarly, knowledge about Monroe enhances a viewer’s appreciation of My Week With Marilyn, but enjoying the film and learning from it does not depend on having the context in advance.

It’s nice to encounter a pleasant surprise at the movies.

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