As primarily a vehicle for some fine performances, My Week with Marilyn is something less then the sum of its parts.
The story is rather slight and telling of it, by Simon Curtis, is pedestrian with some very odd editing. Not just in the arrangement of the scenes, which obscures some of the drama, but within individual scenes the editing creates bizarre continuity and pacing problems. Also the narrative introduces some issues early on that it never resolves or even checks in on, but there are some great performances on display. Michelle Williams is effervescent as Marilyn Monroe, simply perfect, in what is both an impression and a performance, which seems fitting.
It’s interesting; if Williams is nominated for an Oscar for My Week with Marilyn as is widely suspected, she will be nominated for more Oscars for playing Marilyn Monroe than Monroe was nominated for playing anybody else. Kenneth Branagh is excellent as well as the man he is most often compared to, Laurence Olivier. The movie benefits from some luxury casting, having a lot of star power in minor roles including Julia Ormond as Vivian Leigh, Judi Dench as Lady Sybil Thorndike, Toby Jones as Marilyn’s publicist and Emma Watson as the costume girl who will be cruelly turned over for Marilyn by our protagonist. Eddy Redmayne is less good as that lead, but that’s alright, he has the most boring part. The subject is fun so some of the storytelling issues are forgotten by the time the movie’s 96 minute running time is up.