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Why We Love…..Julianne Moore

April 25, 2011


I’ve mentioned Julianne Moore several times here at Fry Butter, it’s hard for me to talk about films or acting for too long without her coming up. She’s featured in the list of hard-to-watch movies I love/hate, she’s created memorable beautiful death scenes, and I wrote about my soft spot for the psychosexual thriller Chloe and she’s part of a famous couple I wouldn’t mind double-dating. But here’s what others have to say about the exceedingly photogenic actor whose resume samples from every acting genre that conceivably exists.

Snarky’s Machine :

In Safe’s most iconic scene, Julianne Moore coughed herself from what appeared to be Sherman Oaks all the way to her home in Northridge! Having coughed that route myself once or twice in my life, I found the whole scene quite chilling. Every time I coughed after having seen that film, I worried I would be unable to stop until I relocated to a community where people don’t really shower, clean with vinegar, are afraid of deodorant and eat bland foods.

What I always enjoy about Moore’s work, even when the films themselves are forgettable, is the way in which she takes bit parts and fully realizes them. An example of this is her brief appearance as an overworked ER doc in The Fugitive. It was hardly a role that called for such a dynamic actor, but Moore made it meaningful and memorable.

Snarky and I also have a deep abiding love for Moore’s performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, specifically the breakdown scene in the pharmacy.

“You fcking call me lady, shame on you!”

Popscribblings recalls a particular golden era of her career:

When I think of Julianne Moore, I think of a period in the late nineties to early 2000s in which she was being nominated for nearly every movie she was in (rightfully so), from Boogie Nights to Magnolia to The Hours to Far From Heaven. And in all these movies, she played quiet devastation so perfectly. If I saw Julianne Moore in a movie during that time period, I knew I better have my Kleenex handy.

Everett doesn’t let us forget her presence in a cult favorite either:

Only an actor with real chutzpah would take a role like Clarice Starling after another actor—in this case, Jodie Foster—had become so iconic for it. With a weaker script than Silence of the LambsHannibal had a lot of flaws, but Moore was most definitely not one of them. Come to think of it, she brought a refreshing and accessible humanity to her character Laura Brown in The Hours, a stilted film that for the most part, made me want to leap out of a window. I’d say she was the princess of cinematic saving graces except that she was also magnificent in one of my (and many others’) favorite movies of all time, The Big Lebowski. Maude Lebowski with all of her pretension and dare I say, fatuousness, left me clutching at my sides! I think her portrayal was even responsible for the character of Edna Mode on The Incredibles, and more currently, to some degree, Linda Hunt’s character on NCIS: LA.

For the record, I saw The Hours twice in the theater and own it on DVD, so I’m mortified that he characterizes the film as stilted, but it’s testament to Moore’s talents that liking a film is rarely necessary to enjoy her performance. In fact, it’s probably a good skill to have, she’s made quite a few duds in her career, some are smaller weirder films that had mixed results, some are mainstream hamfests, but what I admire about her career is how carefully she has chosen to work with all sorts of directors, doing every type of work. And while she is the muse of high-end fashion designers, there’s little pretense in her disposition as a person, so we get to see her in Bulgari ads as well as playing Scarlet in a viral video about GI Joe.


What are your favorite Julianne Moore films? Or do you utterly despise her? She is certainly not short of critical acclaim and you don’t hear many people talk smack about her, but I’m sure she gets on somebody’s nerves! ….just not most of us here.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. evmaroon permalink
    April 25, 2011 11:49 am

    I hoped I didn’t offend anyone by not liking The Hours! And yes, I appreciated Meryl Streep’s performance in that film, too. I just didn’t care for the film itself.

  2. April 25, 2011 11:49 am

    Th-that’s my robe!

  3. evmaroon permalink
    April 25, 2011 11:49 am

    Great scene, Snarky!

  4. April 25, 2011 11:53 am

    I didn’t make the movie, how could I be offended??

  5. April 25, 2011 11:54 am

    You know, I’ve never seen The Hours! or Far from Heaven. Despite being a huge fan of Moore’s I am not as proficient a fan as I ought to be.

  6. April 25, 2011 11:59 am

    She looks so gorgeous in Far From Heaven and it’s partly because she was pregnant radiant, partly the brilliant costumes, and partly making a movie again with Todd Haynes who loves her. You can tell when a director is super fond of a performer by how glowing they are throughout the movie.

    Moore is so damn prolific, you can have seen a couple dozen films with her in them and still miss major chunks of the catalog.

  7. April 25, 2011 1:54 pm

    I adore Julianne Moore. She was great in End of the Affair, Far From Heaven, The Hours … among other things. There is something really vulnerable and very smart about her. The characters I’ve seen her play often seem to be struggling to express an intelligence beyond what their life choices would suggest.

  8. April 25, 2011 2:00 pm

    She had me at Amber Waves!

  9. April 25, 2011 5:28 pm

  10. April 25, 2011 5:32 pm

    Also, the dirrrty south representing. J-Mo’s from Fayetteville, North Carolina!

  11. Val permalink
    April 25, 2011 11:10 pm

    Oh, Big Lebowski, for sure…”he’s a good man, and thorough” is a Maud L. quote I (and some friends) use/misuse with great enthusiasm! I thought she was great in Boogie Nights too. I liked her in The End of the Affair, Magnolia and the Children of Men. Lots here I just haven’t seen…means more movies are out there for me to watch someday. If she grates, I’ll get back to you…

    She held her own in the Shipping News, with Cate Blanchett chewing faux NY scenery right and left, Kevin Spacey as the terrible-hair love interest and Gordon Pinsent at his curmudgeonly best. Her NF accent was bad, but not much worse than Dame Judi’s. A true test of talent, in my opinion.

  12. April 26, 2011 8:11 am

    Val, this reminds me of how much I loved her terrible Boston accent during her guest spots on 30 Rock, which I was pretty sure was intentional, but couldn’t quite tell.

  13. Val permalink
    April 26, 2011 9:52 am

    Oh ha…that was great! I mean terrible! I don’t know Boston accents at all and was sure it was intentional.

  14. April 26, 2011 10:34 am

    She held her own in the Shipping News, with Cate Blanchett chewing faux NY scenery right and left, Kevin Spacey as the terrible-hair love interest and Gordon Pinsent at his curmudgeonly best. Her NF accent was bad, but not much worse than Dame Judi’s. A true test of talent, in my opinion.

    Oh there was so much ham and cheese in that movie I barely noticed the white bread!

  15. Val permalink
    April 26, 2011 12:31 pm

    I didn’t quite get to the point of to abandon the plot to focus on pretty scenery…I had to do that with Legends of the Fall, but near the end, it was a close thing…

    The accents were very distracting for me…kept wondering if Pinsent was trying to coach Scott Glenn between takes!

  16. WENDY PERRY permalink
    May 2, 2011 5:32 am

    I thought she was amazing in A Single Man with Colin Firth but I can’t say I’ve disliked any of her performances…she’s just a really good actress period.

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