January 20, 2017

Michelle Williams’ “Marilyn” centerpiece of NYFF – AWARDS ALLEY


By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The centerpiece film at this year’s New York Film Festival, usually a slot reserved for movies with serious awards heat, has been given to Simon Curtis’ “My Week with Marilyn,” it was announced earlier this week.

The biopic casts Michelle Williams as the tragic Hollywood starlet, focusing on a specific window of time spent on the set of the 1956 film, “The Prince and the Showgirl.” Williams will be joined by Kenneth Branagh as Sir Laurence Olivier, who clashed with Monroe on set. Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Julia Ormond, Dougray Scott and Judi Dench also appear in what’s shaping up to be an Oscar-bait period drama.

Film Society of Lincoln Center chief Richard Pena commented on Curtis’ film, saying that “after seeing Marilyn Monroe so often portrayed in films as a caricature, it is a pleasure to see this complex personality and unique on-screen presence portrayed so well by such a talented actress as Michelle Williams.”

Williams is becoming an Academy favorite, having earned Oscar nominations for her stellar work in “Brokeback Mountain” and last year’s “Blue Valentine.” The Academy also perks up when current starlets portray Hollywood legends on screen. I’m curious to see if Williams’ portrayal of Marilyn will be positive or flawed. But I’m guessing if any actress can shatter the illusion of Monroe as the bubble-headed blonde bombshell, it’s the extremely versatile Williams.

We’ll have much more on “My Week with Marilyn” as the NYFF approaches. Curtis’ film will screen on Oct. 9, while the fest kicks off Sept. 30 with Roman Polanski’s “Carnage.”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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