Initially skeptical to play Monroe, as she had little in common with her looks or personality, Williams spent six months researching her by reading biographies, diaries and notes, and studying her posture, gait, and mannerisms. The film received negative reviews; Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe wrote, "Only when Williams is around does the movie seem human, true, and funny. This exercise led to conflicts between them, which proved conducive for filming their character's deteriorating marriage. They were just defined at an early age by the fact that others saw them that way.
Williams played Holly, an insecure bibliophile, a part that came close to her personality. Williams, who had not seen previous stagings of the play, was drawn to the ambiguity of her character and found herself unable to distance herself from it after each performance. Williams agreed to the project to work with Lonergan, whose work she admired, and in preparation, she visited Manchester to interview local mothers about their lives. In preparation, she took lessons on firing a gun and learned to knit. The film received negative reviews; Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe wrote, "Only when Williams is around does the movie seem human, true, and funny. Scott found Williams to be "heartbreakingly precise in every scene" and praised the couple for being "exemplars of New Method sincerity, able to be fully and achingly present every moment on screen together". She relocated to New York City soon after. She considered it a major opportunity, as she had not headlined a big-budget film before. Set entirely in the lunchroom of an office, it focuses on a young woman, Una Williams , who confronts a much-older man played by Jeff Daniels for having sexual relations with her when she was 12 years old. Williams starred as one of the passengers on the wagon, a feisty young mother, who is suspicious of Meek. Work with auteurs[ edit ] Williams had two film releases in He found a vulnerability in her and cast her as Alma, the wife of Ennis, who discovers her husband's homosexuality and infidelity. Leslie Felperin of Variety found her role to be too brief. Williams played the love interest of Guiry's character, which led Steven Gaydos of Variety to take note of her "winning perf". Set in , it is based on an ill-fated historical incident on the Oregon Trail , in which the frontier guide Stephen Meek led a wagon train through a desert. In his review for The Independent , Robert Hanks called it "sloppy", and said that Williams deserved better. Mainstream films[ edit ] Following a brief appearance in Todd Hayne's drama Wonderstruck ,  Williams appeared in the musical The Greatest Showman. Even in her slapstick, there's pain. She read the works of Christopher Isherwood , whose novel Goodbye to Berlin inspired the musical, and visited Berlin to research Isherwood's life and inspirations. Though the actress considered it to be a light-hearted film, Jenny McCartney of The Daily Telegraph found a darker undertone to it and favorably compared its theme to that of Blue Valentine. The seventh installment in the Halloween film series , it featured Williams as one of several teenagers traumatized by a murderer. Based on Dennis Lehane 's novel , it featured her as a depressed housewife who drowns her own children. Before production began, she spent four months privately rehearsing with music and dance coaches. They were just defined at an early age by the fact that others saw them that way. In the former, starring Ryan Gosling , she played the grieving sister of a murdered boy; it was described by The Globe and Mail 's Liam Lacey as "neither an insightful nor well-made film". Acting sometimes reminds me of therapy in that the more you talk about a traumatic or profound event, the more it loses its emotional tension.
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