Movies

Movie Reviews: “My Week with Marilyn” and “The Iron Lady”

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Two very different women.  One’s classic, old glamour Hollywood and the subject of endless fascination.  The other broke gender and political barriers and ruled the highest office in Britain for over a decade.  Two very noteworthy performances and frontrunners in the 2012 awards season.

“My Week with Marilyn”

Michelle Williams (“Shutter Island“) is ravishing as Marilyn Monroe and masters her every mannerism.  The look, the walk, the pose, the voice.  She captures the essence of the biggest star in the world of her era, seductive and disarming, adored by millions, at the same time, a troubled, lost little girl with the look of innocence.  Williams iridescently magnetizes every frame.

Kenneth Branagh, as Sir Laurence Olivier and Monroe’s frequent sparring partner, be it acting or directing, is a force here.  This is a slice of Monroe’s life, taken from the memoir of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), then a young smitten gopher who developed a platonic relationship with her during the production of “The Prince and the Showgirl” in London.  Combined with stirring music and luminous cinematography, “My Week with Marilyn” is a marvelous picture.

“The Iron Lady”

A delicately human story about Margaret Thatcher.  “The Iron Lady” is not so much about a history lesson, but the very personal side of the longest-serving prime minister of Britain.

It shows Thatcher in her twilight years, in the early stages of dementia, clearly missing her dearly departed husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent).  In and out of lucidity, she keeps everything at home exactly the same and continually talks to him as if he were alive.  It’s simultaneously sentimental and humorous.

Flashes of her primetime years and younger family life unfold through flashbacks.  Inspiring sound bites about having a life that matters, with principles and public service, and making a difference.

The film is sharply photographed with contrasting colors and space, producing a number of memorable shots.  And kudos to hair and makeup, amazingly aids Meryl Streep’s (“Julie & Julia,” “The Devil Wears Prada“) transformation into Thatcher.

The story would have worked better had it not placed much emphasis on her life after Downing Street. But Streep, a prominent presence throughout, truly carries the film.  A poignantly supreme performance!

Copyright (c) 2012. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com. Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (http://themoviemaven.posterous.com).  Twitter: http://twitter.com/the_moviemaven

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

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