Wild Young Minds: My week with Marilyn

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My week with Marilyn

Everyone knows the story of Marilyn Monroe. World famous, the greatest sex symbol Hollywood has ever known and a talented singer and actress. But she was also a hurt woman. So afraid everyone she loved would eventually leave her, just like her mother did. She longed for the family life she never had; she had a photo of Lincoln on her night table cause who knew, he could've been her father. She was loved but lonely, energetic but needed pills to sleep, self-confident but oh so terrified to let anyone down. That's why she needed an acting coach around, the entire time. ''Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul''.

'My week with Marilyn', starring Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, is about the filming of 'The Prince and the Showgirl' in the countryside in Britain. It focuses on the life of a young man, Colin Clark, who works as an assistent at the set of the film. He sees how the entire crew struggles to work with Marilyn, who is always late, or doesn't even show up and isn't capable to deliver good performances. She always needs her acting coach beside her and she comes off very insecure, though everybody keeps telling her she's amazing, she's beautiful and she's the greatest woman on earth. And though Marilyn was right saying ''Every woman should be told she's beautiful'', I can imagine it must've been frustrating working with her.

Marilyn and the 3rd assistent meet and in a short time she needs him the entire time at her side, even though she's married to Arthur Miller. Colin falls for her, as every man probably, and it strikes his ego that an icon like Marilyn would kiss him, would need him. He wants to protect her and forgets his girlfriend-to-be, the dressing girl, played by Emma Watson. Who, by the way, wasn't the only former Harry Potter character in the movie: the actor who played the director and male star of 'The Prince and the Showgirl' played Professor Lockhart in HP and Marilyn's acting coach played 'Madame Hooch'.

But of course this is very unrelevant. What is relevant, is that Michelle Williams did an excellent job performing Marilyn. For 1,5 hour I really believed she was. She was as girly, almost childish, but also as sexy and strong as Marilyn. The actor who played Colin, fitted perfectly as well. He was the embodiment of boyish innocence, ambitious but above all, just a man who wanted to protect the sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.

The film, which was really, really marvellous, very British, entertaining but also very real, got me thinking about icons. One of my favourite subjects, I know. So many great artists died so early. They got addicted to drugs, to alcohol, they were so unhappy even though it seemed they had it all. What does fame to do one?

In Marilyn's case, it broke her. She needed it, but she couldn't handle it. Recently, I was reading a good article in the American ELLE, about the difference between the Marilyn Monroe's on this earth and the Audrey Hepburn's. It was actually about sizes. The writer of the article wanted to lose weight, but eventually she found out it belonged to her, the bigger size. She divided Hollywood in types like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Hurley, who were always casted as the mistress, the ''bad'' girl. There were also the Audrey Hepburn's and Grace Kelly's, who were always the ''good'' girls, who were also charming, but in a graceful way. And why was that? The first type were fuller, so more attracting to men. The second were thinner, so more graceful. And that was why they got such parts in movies. I find it very fascinating.

Back to the movie. I also began thinking about Marilyn herself. She always seems a bit dumb, but I never know it she did that on purpose, or if it really was what she was like. She could play the public very well, that's for sure. The thing I didn't like, was that she seemed a bit lifeless here. It was probably because of the pills, but Marilyn Monroe herself seemed more strong and tough to me, not as half-sleeping and shy as she was here.

I really can't imagine what happens to someone if he/she becomes famous, and then I mean, really famous. They're gonna behave (at least most of them do) very selfish, cause everybody finds them amazing anyway. I can't imagine I could let everyone wait days for me, there's always some sense of responsibility, isn't there?

But hey, I'm no Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps when I was, I would be used to it. Or something like that ;) But I leave the Marilyn Monroe performance up to Michelle Williams, cause she did it just right. Or maybe even better.

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