The performances were all great, though if we're talking about such an iconic person as Marilyn Monroe, they need the right actress to nail the part. While Michelle Williams looks nothing like the actress herself, thankfully the performance sold it for me: she was incredibly convincing and she felt like Marilyn Monroe on screen! It wasn't just about recreating the look or imitating the way she moved and spoke, but about recreating the person she represented on screen with the woman off-screen, both similar to each other, but ultimately very different people. William's performance gives us both sides of the picture, and giving an insight to her emotions and how her life has led her up to now. It feels like Marilyn had to construct that image of herself, the image other people wanted: the one every woman wanted to be, and every man wanted to be with. But the line where Marilyn states that she wish she could be young for such a long time when looking at an old portrait of a young woman. This sums up a lot of who she was: her icon represented the young, sexy and beautiful blonde woman, but it was an image she had to construct. She had to change her name, she wasn't even blonde before, and if she was to maintain that image, she had to remain young forever. It was at first a dream come true, but soon it become a necessity, especially since everyone knew her as the icon and possibly not as a woman. Sadly, this is true for a lot of female celebrities nowadays who find it much more difficult to get jobs as they grow older, and the film maintains that commentary. But we're able to grow attached to Marilyn's charm and also sympathise with her tragedy.
Eddie Redmayne's character, Colin Clark, is a boy who had fallen under that trap of falling in love with the icon and not the woman. He genuinely tries to understand her as a woman and comfort her in a time of need, but finds out that her love life and her relationship with others becomes very difficult, because she's a very lost and broken woman herself. She wasn't very fortunate as a child, and due to lack of love and comfort, maybe even she has a very superficial idea of what love is as well, which is why her love life had been so difficult, as it can be with many movie stars. When Emma Watson's character asks him if she broke his heart, and he confirms that she did, she says that "it needed breaking". He had broken out of his fantasy and understood in some way the reality in front of him.
With great performances and a touching story about trying to understand a woman behind the icon, this film is a clever commentary about how we connect the images and fantasies with our reality, whether for the better or the worse.