Always Leave Them Wanting Moore: Happy Birthday to Julianne Moore

The 3rd December just happens to be Julianne Moore’s birthday, and over at ITOL we decided to celebrate by revisiting some of our favourite movies starring Julianne Moore. Moore is perhaps best know for her roles as troubled women, featuring in films such as “Magnolia”, “The Kids are All Right“,  “Hannibal”, “Carrie”, “Don Jon”, “The Hours”, “Far From Heaven” among others. She has received a whopping five Academy Award nominations, nine Golden Globe nominations, seven SAG nominations, and four BAFTA nominations. She has gone on to win an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, a BAFTA, and two SAG Awards.

Aside from being one of the industry’s best working actresses, Moore is also a pro-choice activist and sits on the board of advocates for Planned Parenthood. She is also a campaigner for gay rights and gun control, and since 2008, she has been an Artist Ambassador for Save the Children. (Is there nothing Moore can’t do?).

So help us wish her a ‘Happy Birthday’ and let us know which Julianne Moore performance is your personal favourite!

“Boogie Nights”

By Kristy Strouse

In both of Paul Thomas Anderson’s exceptionally crafted, talent-filled films “Boogie Nights” (1997) and “Magnolia” (1999) there’s a lot to love, but in each Julianne Moore is especially stunning. The 58 (soon to be 59) year old actress is always a valued addition to any cast, but in these two films she’s especially heartbreakingly, effective.

boogir nights

In “Boogie Nights” she plays Amber. She is sort of the “mother hen,” veteran of the porn star group, and while she seems like she’s (mostly) holding things together, there’s an underlying layer of fragility. Her character, like most of those woven into PT Anderson’s incredible tapestries, she’s got more to her story than what you initially see. She brings a real sadness to the glamorous Amber that only someone as talented as Moore could convey.

Art is an expression of who we are, what we believe, and what we dream about.

Julianne Moore

The same can be said for her role in “Magnolia”, though, that’s even more evident. While as Amber, she’s often got the veneer of confidence- As Lina, the wife of a dying, older man, her walls are crumbling from the start. She’s stuck in a cycle of addiction, guilt and self-loathing, and the desire to ultimately be numb. Her breakdown on screen is one of ego and agony, slowly revealing the extent of her pain in an especially impressive and intense sequence near the film’s end.

As both Amber and Lina we find sympathetic individuals regardless of their flaws. There are lessons to gleam from each of these women, with regret and reflection being paramount in their stories, and Moore manages to deliver each wonderfully. Her transformations are always a delight to discover, and you’ll never find a one-note performance from this legendary star.

“Still Alice”

By Zofia Wijaszka

When “Still Alice” came to the cinemas, it shook me to my very core. Not surprising that Moore received a Academy Award in Best Actress category for her phenomenal role as Alice Daly Howard. The portrayed woman is a very successful linguistics professor who’s diagnosed with early stage of Alzheimer’s disease only after 50th birthday. Alice needs to learn how to live in her new and brutal reality. The film and Julianne Moore’s role depicts the struggle of losing control over your body and the aftermath of that.

Even ordinary people aren’t ordinary, not really. They’re filled up with thoughts and feelings that you might never know are there until they suddenly materialise.

Julianne Moore

In the atmosphere of One Art – Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, the audience observes Alice’s life and who the woman can count on. As the poem says – “The art of losing isn’t hard to master”. The sentence perfectly describes “Still Alice”.


“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

Caelyn O’Reilly

Julianne Moore’s performance as the villainous Poppy Adams in 2017’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” will likely remain a footnote in her long, illustrious career; not only due to the calibre of her body of work, but because Poppy is a tragically underused villain in a somewhat overstuffed action sequel – with a troublingly centrist view of the war on drugs – that failed to recapture the magic of its lightning-in-a-bottle predecessor.

I think everybody has had emotional distress, but yes, I think I’m pretty stable.

Julianne Moore

But what little we do see of her makes a pretty compelling case for every accomplished dramatic actor to get the chance to play a big personality action villain with a lavish secret lair and a take-over-the-world plot. Poppy is the head of a drug empire who lives in a 50s Americana façade in the Cambodian jungle, reclaiming symbols of women’s roles and place in society at the time as methods of power and control, and Moore clearly has a blast as this cartoonishly southern Captain Planet villain. Though sadly her role as a ‘sit back and let others do the dirty work’ antagonist does mean that once the heroes finally get to her, all that power is immediately stripped without a fuss. Boo. She’s not even granted the dignity of being the film’s final boss. But hey, at least we got to see Julianne Moore turn a henchman into a delicious hamburger, and isn’t that worth the price of a cinema ticket?


“Maps to the Stars”

By Bee Garner

Trying to decide on my favourtie Julianne Moore performance was difficult, but I think I have to go with Moore’s performance in “Maps to the Stars”. She may have won the Oscar in 2014 for “Still Alice” but she should have really won for her performance in “Maps to the Stars”. She was awarded the Prix d’interprétation féminine (Best Actress) award for her performance in Cannes, for David Cronenberg’s satire on Hollywood, which kind of makes up for that slight oversight by the Academy. From the very start, Moore really grabs our attention immediately. And holds onto it throughout the film, even through the film’s more surreal moments.

Moore is best known for her troubled characters, but her character in “Maps to the Stars” is perhaps the most emotionally troubled of the bunch. Moore plays a washed up former star called Havana Segrand. She is eager to secure a role in a remake of her mother’s film Stolen Waters. In his piece for the Guardian, Xan Brooks describes Moore’s character as “grotesque, gaudy and ruthless. A nightmarish Norma Desmond for the 21st-century. I’m tempted to file this one as her most autobiographical role to date.”


I’m not really afraid of things that are imaginary. I enjoy it. I enjoy big narrative, and I enjoy big feelings. Having a feeling is never going to kill you.

Julianne Moore

Moore’s character is like a traffic accident that you shouldn’t look at, but you find your eyes drawn to. Steven Zeitchik from the Los Angeles Times summed up the character like this: “We don’t even love to hate Havana in the manner of a juicy villain. We just plain hate her. And yet there’s something so recognizable in her flaws that we also can’t tear ourselves away.”

Moore manages to capture this lost, lonely, and damaged individual without every being too heavy-handed in her approach. Even in scenes where Moore seems to be over dramatic and reacting to certain things in an excessively exaggerated manner. Moore proved with “Maps to the Stars”, that she can play these monstrous characters with such class that even Norma Desmond would jealous.


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