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Walker's Three to See: My Week With Marilyn

KCUR's Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week

By Steve Walker

Kansas City, MO – During the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl, the 1957 movie that paired Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, an eager young man named Colin Clark talked his way into a job on the shoot and eventually cashed in by writing about his brief friendship with the fragile and lonely Monroe. Clark's sense of the story's importance is rather skewed but what makes the screen version of the tale zing is Michelle Williams' brave and fascinating performance as the woman everyone thought they knew but mostly misunderstood. Anyone with any knowledge of film history knows that Monroe was extremely difficult to work with; she'd flub take after take when she bothered to leave her dressing room at all. But when it all clicked (as several characters admit), there was magic. The padded and platinum-tressed Williams (unrecognizable from her Oscar-nominated turn in Brokeback Mountain) gets inside Monroe's skin, revealing the actress's contradictory persona: a woman who could turn on her Monroe-ish charm with the flip of a switch yet was wracked by intense self-doubt. A dumb side-plot about Clark's adolescent flirtation with a costume assistant (Emma Watson) is completely excisable. But Williams is terrific, and providing admirable back-up is a host of entertaining co-stars, including Kenneth Branagh (playing a profane Olivier), Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond, and the great Judi Dench

Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one of Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens.
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