Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Little girls shouldn't be told how pretty they are. They should grow up knowing how much their mother loves them."

Since I have been really bad lately about writing my movie reviews, I have decided to do two in one post. In the past couple weeks I have seen The Descendants and My Week With Marilyn.

The Descendants is about a man whose wife is in a coma after a boating accident. He is having trouble with his youngest daughter so he brings his older daughter home from boarding school to help with her sister. He must figure out how to be a better parent while also dealing with the loss and betrayal of his wife. At the same time, make a decision for his extended family about whether or not to sell a plot of land they have owned through several generations.

It was definitely sadder than I expected it to be, but I also just did not find it particularly interesting at all. Clooney has been getting a lot of attention for his performance in this movie and, while I think that he did a fine job, I did not feel that it was any better than any of his other serious roles. He is a good actor, but I was not blown away by this character. Shailene Woodley, on the other hand, did an excellent job. Her acting skills are clearly getting wasted on The Secret Life of an American Teenager and she could be working on much better projects. I just did not think that this movie was all that fantastic.

My Week With Marilyn is based on the real story of what happened during the production of the film The Prince and The Showgirl from the perspective of third assistant director, Colin Clark. The film starred Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe but, in his memoir, Clark showed how tense things were between the two actors and how he got a chance to know Marilyn on a more personal level.

Marilyn Monroe is played by Michelle Williams and her performance was fantastic. She was the essence of Marilyn without trying to imitate her exactly. The other actors in the film were also excellent. Olivier is portrayed by Kenneth Branagh and Clark by Eddie Redmayne. The rest of the supporting cast includes Judi Dench, Julia Ormond, Emma Watson, Dougray Scott and Dominic Cooper.

It was especially interesting to me to see what Marilyn was like when she was in private. The persona that she had in public was not really who she was as a person. I cannot seem to find the article now, but I remember reading something  where Williams talks about how Marilyn taught herself how to act a certain way when she was in public. The famous walk was not natural and she learned the exact right way to pose her face and body so that she showed off her best features at all times. There is even a line in the movie when she runs into a group of fans and she says to Clark, "Should I be her?" This behavior made her feel very lonely but she thought that was what people wanted from her.

The Descedants was a fine movie but it did not live up to all the hype it has been getting. I was more moved by My Week With Marilyn and it may even be one of my favorite movies of the year. It had a lot of heart and I highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

I am sorry that it took me so long to get these reviews posted, but I hope that everyone had a Happy Hanukkah and a very, Merry Christmas!