Friday, April 12, 2013

i try, but i can't help it, i find julianne moore annoying

I think I'm supposed to like Julianne Moore — we all are, aren't we? She's a multi-Academy Award nominated actress (Boogie Nights, The End of the Affair, Far from Heaven, The Hours). But when I see her in a movie I can't help it, I cringe inwardly. I'm sure in real life she's just delightful — she seems like she would be from interview snippets I've seen. As I took a glance at some of the movies that I have seen her in over the years I started to feel better. I think I'm supposed to dislike her. Either that, or the majority of parts she has selected (or has been chosen) to play are intrinsically annoying characters. Really. Moore even supports my argument:
"I never care that [my characters] are "strong". I never care that they're even affirmative. I look for that thing that's human and recognizable and emotional. You know, we're not perfect, we're not heroic, we're not in control. We're our own worst enemies sometimes, we cause our own tragedies ... that's the stuff that I think is really compelling." — Wikipedia citing "Episode 7, Julianne Moore". Inside the Actors Studio. Season 9. December 22, 2002.
Well that makes me feel a little less guilty. Let's review.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Save yourself - she's dangerous!
1995's Nine Months is probably the first movie I ever saw Moore in, and it wasn't a pleasant introduction. The entire film is offensive, but her whining, cliched pregnant woman is so annoying that it's understandable boyfriend Hugh Grant is having second thoughts about their relationship.

She was equally annoying in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) as intrepid, downright foolhardy scientist Sarah Harding, who nearly gets boyfriend Jeff Goldblum eaten by ferocious dinosaurs and anyone else who happens to get in the way, too.

I found all of 2002's The Hours pretty obnoxious, especially Nicole Kidman's so-noticeable proboscis prosthesis as author Virginia Woolf, so it probably isn't fair to single out Moore's character of Laura Brown, who is supposed to be a modernized Clarissa Dalloway. But I will, anyway.

2002's Far from Heaven is supposed to be Moore's masterpiece. It is visually compelling, and she gives it her all, but I didn't connect with her tortured '50s housewife as much as I did her wardrobe.

Far From Heaven: Cool sunglasses
A Single Man: With friends like these ...

A Single Man (2009) is a very lovely understated movie about George Falconer (Colin Firth), a college professor who has just lost his partner Jim in a car accident. Moore plays his self-centered "friend" Charley who makes a clumsy pass at him when he is at his most vulnerable.

As Jules in 2010's The Kids Are All Right she severely, even blithely, risks her long-term committed relationship to partner Nic (Annette Bening) by having an affair with the sperm donor father of their two children, Paul (Mark Ruffalo).

In the recent Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) she played Emily Weaver, a woman who has become disillusioned and bored with her marriage to high-school sweetheart Cal. She callously tells him she is having an affair with her co-worker (Kevin Bacon) and asks for a divorce. I can't say I was really rooting for Emily and Cal to get back together, even though that's where all Hollywood movie scripts are headed.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.: Look out, Mr.
I think I prefer to see Moore in a large ensemble piece, where she is just part of the action. I like her better when she isn't front and center. Even if her character has annoying qualities, I find her performances in movies like  Boogie Nights (1997), The Big Lebowski (1998), Magnolia (1999), and The Shipping News (2001) more successful.

Moore is really going for an unlikable character in her next film, Carrie, where she will play the ultimate messed up mom, Margaret White. I have no desire to see it, really — do we need a third version of Stephen King's novel? — but I also have no doubt that Moore will bring exactly the right quality to make me dislike her immensely.
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