This month I’ve watched a couple films with literary themes, and I’m finally getting around to letting you know what I think of them. Don’t worry, I’ve got two books to review in the near future, but let’s just say life has been throwing me so many curve-balls at once that they got put on the back-burner temporarily.
“My Week with Marilyn” (2011)
Rating: 4 out of 5
This British drama directed by Simon Curtis stars Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe and Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark, a young man yearning to become a filmmaker who has the chance to work with Monroe on her movie, “The Prince and the Showgirl” in 1956. This film was adapted from the real Clark’s tell-all book, titled The Prince, The Showgirl and Me.
The movie follows Clark’s infatuation with Monroe, as she struggles to make her mark in the acting world. She is portrayed as very capricious, reflective and insightful one moment, hysterical and popping pills the next. Williams does an excellent job depicting Monroe’s constant need for validation, and her inner turmoil which causes her to incite so many extramarital affairs (as she is married to third husband, playwright Arthur Miller, at the time).
Because of her fickle nature, Clark gets his heart broken and learns a valuable lesson about love. The movie’s production ends, and so does their short relationship. Actress Emma Watson is adorable playing a much more realistic love interest for Clark: It must have been hard watching men fall to the feet of Monroe on a daily basis!
And I think that’s the best part about this film. Even though I am not obsessed with Monroe like some young women, because I refuse to ignore her dark side, this movie highlights that juxtaposition between admired actress and disturbed young woman. She may have a screw loose at times, but you fall in love with her anyways, just like Clark.
Even if you’re not a Monroe fan, you’ll enjoy this film. (Rotten Tomatoes rating: 84%)
“Midnight in Paris” (2011)
Rating: 3 out of 5
I was more skeptical watching this film, because I don’t really like Woody Allen, but this romantic comedy directed by him wasn’t terrible. I liked the premise, which follows American Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson) as he spends a vacation with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams) in Paris.
Pender’s a screenwriter who glorifies Paris in the 1920s, where literary expatriates reigned supreme. Then, after getting drunk one midnight, he finds himself actually in the ’20s meeting the same authors and artists he admires. It was fun watching Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, and others shown on screen, and all the actors did a great job with their characters.
I just wish that I could’ve liked Pender more. Most of the time he comes off obnoxious, and I feel his fiancee’s frustration. It’s clear from the beginning that they’re very incompatible. However, I enjoyed Allen’s message that we shouldn’t dream of a “Golden Age,” because living in the past takes away from the present moment. And the people and places you may consider perfect might actually yearn for an even earlier time.
Again, Woody Allen’s not my cup of tea, but the film got rave reviews, so if you can’t get enough of this literary era, check it out for yourself (Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93%)