Last week Maps to the Stars (2014) hit our new titles shelf. With an Oscar nom in tow for her latest film, Still Alice (2014), and a stellar back catalogue of titles to revisit (we have 43 in store), we think y’all ought to watch Moore: Julianne Moore.
Here’s 10 (in no particular order) of the best JM titles we have at the ready. Get renting!
1. Maps to the Stars (2014)
Moore plays Havana Segrand, a neurotic egomaniac who harbours some pretty extreme ‘mommy’ issues and attends super intimate therapy sessions (with John Cusack) in an attempt to keep them in check. Between vying for the starring role in a new film – where she would play her dead mother – and taunting her new assistant, Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska), Havana has a lot on her plate. Maps is a mostly psychological drama from body-horror guru David Cronenberg, with a little gore thrown in for good measure. At any rate there’s more than enough of the grotesque to go around in this Hollywood incest/stardom satire. Moore is sensational and steals every scene – poor Wasikowska, she does her best but she’s no match for Moore.
2. Far From Heaven (2002)
Douglas Sirk fans can swoon again as Todd Haynes casts a queer eye over a classic melodrama. Skewing the nostalgic tone just enough Haynes makes you rethink the intersection between aesthetic and ideology. Plus the story is a total heart-breaker. At its centre is Cathy Whitaker (Moore) whose performance of grace is exemplary. Her embodiment of stoic repression is possibly the greatest since Barbara Stanwyck graced the silver screen. Though it deals with so much more than just romance – race, class, gender, society – it’s still a film that yearns in a way that only a true, sad romance can.
3. Cookie’s Fortune (1999)
A good old-fashioned crime comedy where Moore plays a small-town oddball and the endearingly shy younger sister to Glenn Close’s snooty cover-up conspirator. The whole thing is riotous good fun, like most of Robert Altman’s films and Moore shows her ability to adapt to broad character roles without ever slipping into caricature. A fine, fun and family-friendly film.
4. The Big Lebowski (1998)
You don’t have to be a follower of Dudeism to enjoy The Big Lebowski. It’s a Cohen Brothers’ comedy romp that stars Jeff Bridges, a bathrobe, and a bowling alley. Moore plays another odd-ball here as the avant-garde artist Maude whose art work “has been commended as being strongly vaginal”. Turns out she does stylised and controlled justice too.
5. The Hours (2002)
Moore joins Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Ed Harris is this Virginia Woolf tribute tear-jerker. She plays Laura Brown, a woman whose conventional family life drives her to suicidal depression. Reading Mrs Dalloway, she feels connected; through the story’s fragmentation, its free indirect style; to other times, places and women. Drawing on their strength, she finds her way through much of the pain.
6. A Single Man (2009)
Adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s 1964 novel of the same name, A Single Man is highly stylistic, immaculately costumed (no surprises there as it’s directed by fashion designer Tom Ford) and superbly acted – not just owing to Moore’s skill but also featuring a strong performance from Colin Firth. Moore plays Charley who is a good friend and a glamorous woman but desperately miserable all the same. Stunning.
7. Safe (1995)
Hold up, this might be the very best of the lot – As Carol White, Moore expertly portrays how binding oneself from the world’s dangers can work to build rather than dispel anxiety. She develops one chemical sensitivity after another until, finally, the very idea of being ‘safe’ becomes a horrifying farce. The second title in this here blog post from director Todd Haynes, Safe is a film like no other, and Moore’s performance of a woman who willingly wraps herself in cotton wool is filled with as much empathy as it is fear.
8. What Maisie Knew (2012)
Henry James’ classic gets an update. Susanna (Moore) is a rock ‘n’ roll tragic who, despite having a young daughter desperate for her attentions, can’t help but fail to meet her maternal obligations. But despite the character flaws, Moore delicately balances pathos and hopelessness to allow her Susanna a greater complexity, bringing empathy to a role that could easily slip into one-dimensional territory should it be played by a less talented actress.
9. The Kids Are All Right (2010)
LOVE Julianne Moore’s depiction of Jules: a woman who reaches a point in her marriage as a housewife, (to Annette Bening as Nic) that, thanks to her children’s curiosity about their biological father, opens a mid-life crisis-esque can of worms. The sex scenes are naturalistic and clumsy, the conversations frank. The film has every bit as much sincerity as one would expect of writer/director Lisa Cholodenko. Life’s confusing, it’s not always someone else’s fault, and even when things get screwed up, it can still be beautiful.
10. Boogie Nights (1997)
As Amber Waves, Moore takes a supporting role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s break out film from 1997. It’s not all about roller girl – even though Graham’s body and Wahlberg’s wang seem to get most of the conversational attention. Unsurprisingly, she’s every bit as good here as she is in everything else.
Alright, that’s enough examples. Go watch Moore, innit.