Michelle Williams encourages her daughter Matilda Ledger to be her own person.
The Academy Award-winning actress juggles her work commitments with parenting the 11-year-old, whose father is the late Australian actor Heath Ledger.
When it comes to spending time with Matilda or other children on film sets, Michelle insists that being willing to support and listen to their ideas is critical.
"Personally and professionally, the great (trick to) working with children and knowing children is listening to children, and responding to who they are," she said during a press conference to promote her movie Wonderstruck at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday (18May17). "Not your idea of a perfect child, not who you want them to be, but who they really are."
The 36-year-old added that she felt a great sense of pride when Matilda presented her with a card on Mother's Day (14May17). The card featured a picture of someone wearing high heels while on a skateboard, and included a note stating, "Mom, thanks for letting me be me".
"That's my ultimate (goal); that's what I want them to do," she continued.
Being a parent is a role Michelle enjoys being both off and on screen, having played mothers in Blue Valentine and Manchester by the Sea. Now in Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck, Michelle takes on the role of Elaine, the mother of 12-year-old Ben, and the star was determined to have a similarly open relationship with the young actors in the movie, who include Oakes Fegley and Millicent Simmonds.
"I think when you become a mother, it's sort of difficult to separate yourself from being a mother," she explained. "Being a mother is not only who I am in my relationship with my daughter, but it's a part of the kind of work that I wanna make and the relationship with the person that I want to be for her, so there is really no area of my life that is untouched."