My Week With Marilyn, in reality, revolves around the performance of Michelle Williams. A lesser actor, even by a few degrees, would have sunk the project. Her recreation of the legend is physically astonishing. But it is her internal mechanisms that power the film, despite a linear script. Williams’ Marilyn is endearing, but so is Williams herself. With delicacy and unerring intuition, she uncovers mysteries and makes Marilyn more discernable and human.
Equally important is the fact that Williams and the filmmakers are clearly trying to convey something about the destructive nature of contemporary celebrity. Williams is personally familiar with its attendant burdens and often tragic results. Monroe once said: “Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
Although My Week With Marilyn is an appealing film, Williams’ very indispensability underscores its limited approach to both Marilyn Monroe’s allure and personality and the period the film treats. Monroe’s life and career were bound up with postwar American culture, a multifaceted and perplexing topic, to say the least.