Kids Are All Right, The : Julianne Moore Feature

Julianne Moore is one of the most interesting actresses working in Hollywood today, able to flip from mainstream blockbusters to art house critic-pleasers with ease. Her role in new comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right is another excellent addition to her filmography, and is being tipped to feature when Oscar nominations come around in January. In preparation for its UK release this month we look down the best performances from Moore’s remarkable career.

Short Cuts (Robert Altman 1993)
Julianne Moore started her career rather ignobly, plying her trade on the trashy US sitcom As The World Turns throughout the 1980s. By the early 90s she had worked her way up to supporting roles in big budget Hollywood fare such as The Fugitive. It was her appearance in Robert Altman’s sprawling masterpiece Short Cuts however that she was a talent to watch. Playing a woman trying to get on with her life while consciously ignoring the cracks in her marriage, she easily holds her own against a heavyweight ensemble cast including Tim Robbins, Robert Downey Jr and Jack Lemmon

Kids Are All Right, The (2010) - Movie PosterSafe (Todd Haynes 1995)
Short Cuts gained Moore critical acclaim and she was soon appearing in such mainstream fare as the Hugh Grant pregnancy rom-com Nine Months. Her first leading role however came the same year when she teamed with a controversial young director named Todd Haynes for Safe. Moore starred an affluent Californian housewife who seemingly develops an allergy to almost everything around her. In lesser hands the role could have easily turned into a cartoonish stereotype of a paranoid hypochondriac, but Moore plays the character with empathy, subtly and ambiguity. The role was vital it establishing her as an actress to be taken seriously.

Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson 1997)
By the mid 90s Moore was established as a Hollywood A-lister, appearing multi-million sequel Jurassic Park: The Lost World. But she proved she was not content to simply take pay checks to act against CGI dinosaurs when she took the role of a cocaine-addicted porn star in Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic about the adult film industry. The film became one of the most critically acclaimed pictures of the decade, establishing Anderson as a major talent, and Moore picked up her first Oscar nomination for her troubles.

The Kids Are All Right (2010)The End of the Affair (Neil Jordan 1999)
Following the success of Boogie Nights, Moore appeared in a string of quirky roles in idiosyncratic indie gems, such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s follow-up Magnolia and her scene stealing turn in the Coen Brother’s The Big Lebowski. In 1999 however, she took on a much more serious task when stared alongside Ralph Fiennes in Irish director’s Neil Jordan director’s adaptation of the Graham Greene novel The End of the Affair. Moore adeptly proved her heavyweight dramatic chops and picked up a chain of award nominations, including her second Oscar nod.

Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes 2002)
At the turn of the new millennium Julianne Moore took on what was arguably her biggest role to date replacing Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling in Hannibal, the long delayed sequel to the multi-Oscar winning The Silence of the Lambs. The film was met with lukewarm reviews, but Moore bounced back, re-teaming with Todd Haynes for Far From Heaven. In what is both a satire on and an affectionate love letter to the melodramas of Douglas Sirk, Moore plays a 1950s housewife who falls in love with her African American gardener whilst her husband struggles with his homosexuality.

The Hours (Stephen Daldry 2002)
Moore followed critical acclaim of Far From Heaven with another powerful performance in The Hours. The Oscar winning film focused on Virginia Woolf and her influence across women of three generation, from Woolf herself and her struggles with depression to the modern day, with Moore taking the lead in the middle section set in the 1950s. Moore completed a triptych of Hollywood female royalty alongside Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, and cemented her place as one of the most important screen actresses of her generation.

Children Of Men (Alfonso Cuarón 2006)
In 2002, Moore gave birth to her daughter, Liv Helen (her son, Caleb, was born in 1997), and therefore spent the first half of the decade slowing down her work rate. She has never strayed to far from our screens however, and in 2006 she appeared Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi epic Children of Men. Set in England, with a Mexican director and an international cast, the film portrays a dystopian future where no child has been born for a decade and Britain has descended into a totalitarian state. Moore co-stars as an American leader of an underground group of rebels alongside Clive Owen and Michael Caine.

The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko 2010)
Julianne Moore is now firmly cemented as one of America’s greatest actress, in the last few years having starred in critically acclaimed fare such as A Single Man, risking controversial films like Savage Grace and even having a recurring role on brilliant US sitcom 30 Rock. Yet despite being nominated four times, she has never won an Academy Award. Oscar buzz has already started around her latest film The Kids Are All Right. She stars with Annette Bening as a lesbian couple who have had two children via artificial insemination. Their lives are thrown upside down when, behind their back, the children meet with their biological father, played by Mark Ruffalo, and drag him into the family. Regardless of whether it gets an Oscar nod or not, The Kids Are All Right is a smart, funny, heartwarming yet realistic gem of a film.

Kids Are All Right, The (2010) is in cinemas 29 October 2010