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I Owe Michelle Williams an Apology

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Michelle Williams, I am sorry. Please let me explain.

My first introduction to Michelle was when I casually watched Dawson's Creek, and it was clear to me that she was the most talented actor on the show. Whether you loved or hated Jen, that character seemed to reflect the friends I went to high school with more than the pouty triangle of Dawson, Pacey, and Joey. I enjoyed her in Brokeback Mountain, even if her performance wasn't exactly the focus of that movie. Despite her Oscar nomination for her role as Alma, it seemed as if her real-life relationship with Heath Ledger had taken center stage. For whatever reason, lead roles in big-budget movies seemed to elude her.

In October I saw stories about Michelle having done a photo shoot for Vogue in which she mimicked Marilyn Monroe. I had no idea it was publicity for a movie and was irritated with what I saw as yet another actress trying to imitate the blonde bombshell. I had already seen Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman give it a try and learned that even Lindsay Lohan was recreating Marilyn's Playboy images. After realizing that Michelle was going to star in a movie about Marilyn, I remained skeptical. Why were women using this long-deceased sex symbol as a platform for publicity?

My girlfriend and I try to see all the Oscar movies before our annual Awards party, and the Oscar buzz surrounding My Week with Marilyn is honestly the only reason I conceded to watch this movie. But it ended up being one of my favorites of the year. The movie is based on two books by Colin Clark about his experience escorting Marilyn Monroe during filming of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl, and it depicts Marilyn both on- and offscreen.

It was incredibly ambitious and brave to take on this role. For any woman to offer herself up for comparison to an icon, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all time, is daring, to say the least. But Michelle nailed it. You soon forget that it is a performance and begin to truly see the essence of the iconic figure whose image you have mindlessly viewed a thousand times. Michelle did what even Marilyn was never able to do for me: show her as a sympathetic, complex woman possessing more depth than her pin-up image offered. Because of Michelle, I appreciate Marilyn more than ever.

So, Michelle Williams, I owe you an apology. I allowed myself to fall prey to the myth that if an actor isn't dominating the movie trailers, then that means they lack talent. And that is certainly not the case with you. Much like the great actors who have come before, it seems you are creating a career on your own terms by picking roles you care about, instead of striving to be just another Hollywood "it" girl. I look forward to seeing you get the attention you deserve at the upcoming Oscars, and congratulations on a brilliant performance.