The Many Faces of Sadness

As part of the ‘Reel Sex’ series at Film School Rejects, Gwen Reyes looks back at My Week With Marilyn.

‘The thing about beauty is it can be a lonely sort of curse. One can only have the face she is born with, and no amount of doctoring or modern-day photo manipulation can truly change that. Look at Marilyn Monroe. At her peak, she was the world’s most beautiful woman; and at her lowest she was a tragic figure whose hidden sadness touched every character she performed—even the character “Marilyn Monroe.” It’s only fitting that a stunning actress best known for her ability to emote relatable sadness would take on the daunting task of playing Monroe.

Michelle Williams tackled the icon’s emotional instability with such aplomb and grace that it was often impossible to tell the actress from the character in My Week With Marilyn. Williams’ Marilyn dealt with her crippling sadness by playing with and seducing a young production assistant (played by Eddie Redmayne) who idolized the woman and relished in the moments of vulnerability she let escape her carefully crafted character. This tragic Monroe would smile through her tears, but the truth was always there under the surface—her pain was too great and too all encompassing to not use her sex appeal as a way to feel something, anything. Even if it was the intoxicating gaze of her male fans.’

Leave a Reply