My Week With Marilyn and The Help

Hi Everyone!  First of all a BIG THANK YOU, I mean it, A HUGE ONE, to all the readers and commenters of my last two guest posts.  You all made Jenny Hansen and Marcy Kennedy feel so welcome.  Thanks!

What, you missed them?  Well, allow me to give you directions.  You can find Jenny talking about definitions of love here and Marcy talking about overcoming anything for 30 seconds here!  Enjoy!

But today, we’re talkingOscars again!  I’m reviewing two films with Best Actress Nominees, and these are leading ladies you won’t want to miss!

The Nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role are:

  • Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis for The Help
  • Rooney Mara for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn


My Week With Marilyn

Based on the memoir by Colin Clark, My Week With Marilyn captures the film shooting of The Prince and the Showgirl, which starred Monroe opposite Laurence Olivier (played by fellow Oscar Nominee Kenneth Branagh).  Clark was a young man avoiding more sensible routes of adulthood, by earning himself a position as third Assistant Director on the set.  The film shooting took place shortly after Monroe’s marriage to author, Arthur Miller (who wrote the classic Death of a Salesman).

What Michelle Williams manages to portray are the polar opposites of celebrity poster child and girl interrupted.  Granted, this is all taken from the diary Clark kept while filming, so we only see his perception.  But we know enough about Marilyn’s tumultuous life and her struggle to feel loved.  On film, she stole the viewer’s hearts and they couldn’t take their eyes off her.  Behind the scenes, she worked diligently, albeit not timely, with an acting coach and whether she knew it or not, probably needed someone to take care of her.

The film, My Week With Marilyn, isn’t exactly a love story, but perhaps its players would say so.  Though Monroe was newly married, she began an affair with Clark, who probably never had a real girlfriend before.  That’s quite a coupling!  Michelle Williams is stunning in her doe eyed, young Marilyn and impressed me by doing her own singing in the film.  She is gorgeous and I think well deserving of this nomination.  How does one begin to embody an epic Hollywood starlet like Marilyn Monroe?  I think Williams got it right!


The Help

Nominated for several awards including Best Supporting Actresses Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain, Best Picture, and Viola Davis for Lead Actress, The Help is a film to contend with.

Viola is quickly becoming a favorite actress of mine.  From small scenes in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close to this starring role, she proves again and again she’ll do what’s needed and what’s right for the character.  What’s more, I caught the end of the SAG Awards (Screen Actor’s Guild) and both Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer won, as well as the Cast won Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture.  When Davis got up to speak she said this film was truly a story where everyone came together, and having such a large cast, it was remarkable how they all came to work and made this movie happen, no egos, no demands, just working together.

Davis plays Aibileen, the Godly and good maid who cares for white people’s children.  The story of The Help is set during the civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi.  New graduate, Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan, returns home to Jackson and doesn’t understand the segregation going on around her.  She decides to write a book from The Help’s perspective.  What follows is a beautiful and strong friendship caught on film through the acting of Davis and Spencer, who plays Minny, the much MUCH  more outgoing and sassy maid.

This film, largely in part to its actors, will make you laugh so hard you could choke on your popcorn if you’re not careful, but it also will make you unnerved and moved in a very real way.  Both Davis and Spencer, and even Chastain, have done exceptionally well, being nominated in almost every award ceremony, and winning several more.  They are strong performances to beat, but I wonder if those awards cancel them out for the Oscars?  Will this be the year Meryl’s name gets called?  I don’t know, but Viola and Octavia are two women who have earned their nominations!

Your turn!  What films have you seen nominated for the Oscars?  Which leading lady are you rooting for?  Who would play you in your own Oscar worthy life story?

19 responses

  1. Looking forward to seeing both of these, missed at cinema but I’ll watch on DVD!

    1. The Help is out on DVD now! I too can’t wait for more of the films to be “rentable”.

      1. Not over here 🙂 We have to wait till March!

        1. Bummer!!! Well, now you have time to read the book! 😉

  2. Thank you for these reviews. I’d never heard of the Marilyn Monroe movie and appreciated the trailer. I’ve heard more about The Help and am not surprised about the nominations. Everyone tells me it’s a great film.
    I’d like to see at least one of them before the Oscars!

    1. You have about 10 days, Patti. Plant your butt on the couch and tell the fam it’s movie marathon time! Huzzah! 😀

  3. I cannot wait to see ‘Marilyn’. I totally adore Ken Branagh…I mean, who doesn’t? 🙂

    1. Well, I mean, c’mon, the man has acted in like every Shakespeare play ever put to film or stage!!!

      1. ……And ‘Dead Again’, one of my all time favorites. He’s totally gorgeous in that.

  4. I am really looking forward to both of these.. great post, Jess!

    1. Both wonderful films, you’ll laugh and cry and want to watch them again.

  5. Loved, loved, loved The Help! Let’s just say I’ll never look at chocolate pie the same way again. 😉

    1. “I won it for you.” 😉

      Don’t you wish you had a mom like Sissy Spacek? LOL

  6. Since I got a toddler, I’m completely behind on movies! Thanks for the trailers. I’m happy to know that I can rent The Help. (The book was fantastic!)

    1. I’m normally an advocate for seeing the film first, but I did read The Help before I saw it, and I still LOVED the movie! The author Kathryn Stockett worked with a longtime friend, Tate Taylor to make this happen, so I think her participation throughout the process is why the book to film transition worked so well.

      However, you remember the part where Celia runs after that naked man in her yard? That wasn’t in the film. But those of you reading these comments who’ve only watched the movie probably want to read the book now. 😉

  7. Again, I haven’t seen either of these. I know I’ve heard over and over how amazing The Help is, but I need my guy to go fishing or something in order for me to watch it. Now, I haven’t seen the movie, but I have see a clip of My Week with Marilyn and MIchelle Williams is AMAZING as Marilyn. AMAZING. I may be pulling for her to win the Academy Award.

    Thanks, Jess!

    1. Hey you saw Mark’s reply, He LOVED The Help. Maybe you can convince your guy to watch it! I’m rooting for you, use that red hair to your advantage! LOL

  8. I never get to see grown up movies until they come on DVD and then maybe one or two a month- but both of these look really good.

    1. Oooh, I hope you get some “me time” and can indulge in a few flicks on your list, Alica! The Help is a great one for any mood you’re in!

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