and Thelma Ritter
Part of the movie's success is in how their is no clear black and white morality to it. All of the characters are struggling to stay afloat and to survive in a grey world. This can make it challenging viewing since everyone in the movie has major flaws, but instead of making the movie distasteful, we watch on, hoping for answers, and because the movie carries truth. Even Roslyn, who is our stand-in and gives us our perspective, who is so pure and in love with life, at times even she comes across as flawed. On the negative side of her spectrum, she's a victim, a martyr for no one, an unreasonable idealist, a perfectionist addicted to pointing her finger at everyone else. But through it all, the movie belongs to her and the actress who portrays her, Marilyn Monroe. Her character's compassionate convictions still speak true today. It's hard to divorce one's perception of Roslyn from Marilyn, but this doesn't take away from the movie. It could be one of the only movies where the audience's familiarity with an actor enhances the movie-watching experience. The movie shows us the much-needed positive angle of Marilyn Monroe's lesson to us: you must have compassion to have true and pure joy.
Through it all, the camera moves around like a dream. It captures shots of people, city streets, small-town streets, the mountains, and animals. Shots that you don't ever want to let go. It builds tension by tightening the arguing actors in a frame, and shows loneliness by capturing a single body against an endless sea of wild country. The days, the nights, the interesting characters, settings, and thrilling experiences, Marilyn's performance makes a poem around them, and it's a beautiful, frightening, and heart-breaking one.