Today we will be taking a hand-picked highlights tour through the prolific career of American actress, and Academy Award winner Julianne Moore.
This week sees a the UK theatrical rerelease of the 1998 classic THE BIG LEBOWSKI, directed by the Coen brothers and starring Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, to name a few. This years sees the 20th anniversary of the film, hence it’s rerelease. Julianne Moore plays Maude Lebowski, a strong independent woman with a passion for art. The film itself has become something of a classic with what started as a cult following, but later gained much wider attention on home release.
Julianne is well-known for playing emotionally troubled characters – as we’ll see today.
FILM ONE: THE HOURS (2002)
In 1951, Laura Brown, a pregnant housewife played by Julianne Moore, is planning a party for her husband, but she can’t stop reading the novel ‘Mrs. Dalloway’. Clarissa Vaughn, (Meryl Streep), is a woman living in present times and is throwing a party for her friend who is dying of AIDS. These two stories are simultaneously linked to the work and life of Virginia Woolf, (played by Nicole Kidman), the author of Mrs. Dalloway.
Julianne plays a mother fearing her ability to be a mother again. The very pregnant Laura thinks she won’t be an adequate mother to her son and current baby on the way in a few months. Laura must make the decision to run away from it all or live miserably with her happy husband.
It’s an emotional watch, but with superb performances from all three of the leading ladies.
FILM TWO: SAVAGE GRACE (2007)
Our second film is SAVAGE GRACE, from 2007. This is based on the true story of the charismatic but mentally unstable Barbara Daly, (played by Julianne Moore), who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Their only child, (played by Eddie Redmayne), is a failure in his father’s eyes, and as he matures and becomes increasingly close to his alienated mother, the seeds for tragedy are sown.
Redmayne plays the son, Antony, with an intensity he often displays in his work; and it’s a complex role he’s got on his hands here. But it’s the performance from Julianne that is a stand-out and well worth checking out.
For the sake of clarity, given the incestuous storyline for Julianne and Eddie, this is definitely not a family film!
FILM THREE: HANNIBAL (2001)
For our final film today, I’ve chosen something that most familiar with Moore’s work might shy away from; however I think it’s not only a good route into her work, but it’s also an underrated film; it’s HANNIBAL from 2001.
We all know that Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic serial-killer in a number of films, including SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and RED DRAGON. It’s a role he plays well, although he’s distanced himself from the violence of the movies at times. In this film, however, the most interesting performance comes from Julianne Moore, taking over from Jodie Foster as the FBI agent Clarice Starling; the young agent whom Lecter helped with her first big case in the previous film.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom on the set though, as Julianne explained during a later interview that Anthony Hopkins taught her young son how do make the Hannibal Lecter ‘noise’.
Whilst many were disappointed with this film, I think Moore’s understated study of a person struggling with huge inner demons is a fine performance and one well worth seeking out to watch.
The Kids Are Alright
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The Hunger Games series
Crazy Stupid Love