Is it Live or is it Marilyn?: What a daunting challenge to recreate an icon on the level of Marilyn Monroe and come away not only unscathed, but glorious. Of the few actresses I can think of who could attempt such a feat, Michelle Williams would not have been among the first to come to mind. In My Week With Marilyn, she pulls off an amazing performance that goes way beyond surface physical transformation to encompass the troubled psychological depths of a tragic legend. If Monroe’s luminous sexuality had a bit of a hard-edged tinge, Williams’ take is more softly scintillating, adding emotional contours that go a long way in helping to understand the woman who was the most famous of her time. A wonderful moment has Williams as Monroe asking “Shall I be her?” as she approaches an impromptu crowd, and in a blink of an instant, switches the light on her other self, the Marilyn the public always expected, in all her splendor. Oscar, anyone? (A shout-out also to Kenneth Branagh, in a masterly portrayal of the great Laurence Olivier.)

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