Tag Archives: Julianne Moore

After the Wedding Movie Review

Secrets, especially family secrets, have a way of coming out.

In the new movie, After the Wedding (based on the 2006 Dutch film of the same name which I have never seen), Isabel (Michelle Williams) runs an orphanage in India. In need of additional funds, she travels to New York City. Theresa (Julianne Moore) is the owner of a very successful media company and is interested in making a large donation to the orphanage.

But before Theresa can discuss the details of the donation, she and her husband Oscar (Billy Crudup) must walk their daughter Grace (Abby Quinn) down the aisle. Theresa invites Isabel to the wedding. Instead of it just being an enjoyable evening, it opens the door to a couple of difficult and emotional revelations.

Written and directed by Bart Freundlich (who is married to Julianne Moore IRL), this film is a story of family, secrets and choices. To be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by the narrative. The film tries to be dramatic, but does not reach the dramatic heights that the trailer promises. The narrative and what should be the big dramatic reveal was also a little predictable. Though I appreciated the gender swap of the main characters from the original film, it does not make up for what is essentially an underwhelming movie going experience.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

After the Wedding is presently in theaters.

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Gloria Bell Movie Review

It’s obvious to many movie fans that women of a certain age are not always given the same screen time or the same roles that their male counterparts are given. At best, she is the mother or mother figure of the main character. At worst, she is the under-sexed or over-sexed cougar looking to bed the younger male lead.

In the new film, Gloria Bell, the main character is neither simply the mother or the cougar. Based on the 2013 Chilean film, Gloria, Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore), is a 50 something single divorcee living in Los Angeles. With her kids grown and out of the house, she blows off steam after work by going to dance clubs. One night, she meets Arnold (John Turturro), who is also a 50 something divorcee with grown kids.  It seems like Gloria and Arnold are on the path to a long-term relationship, but there are complications. Will their relationship last or is it doomed before it can even get started?

My only complaint about this film is that it was a little long. Some scenes could have been shortened or left for the extras portion on the DVD. Otherwise, the film is brilliant. It’s rare for Hollywood to produce a film about a vibrant middle-aged woman who is defined as an individual and not defined by her romantic status or her children. Gloria, as a character is both refreshing and awe-inspiring. When her relationship with Arnold does not appear to be solid, Gloria does not console herself with romantic movies, alcohol and her favorite pint of Ben and Jerry’s. She goes about her life with confidence and perseverance. I wish there were more female characters like Gloria, especially women of a certain age.

I absolutely recommend it.

Gloria Bell is currently in theaters. 

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Flashback Friday-The Forgotten (2004)

There is no stronger love than a mother for her child.

In the 2004 movie, The Forgotten, Telly (Julianne Moore) believes that her son died in a plane accident. She wakes up some months later to find that the only evidence of her son’s life is her memories. It is as if she never had any children. Her husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards) and her psychiatrist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise) start to believe that Telly is seeing things.

The only person who believes Telly is Ash (Dominic West), after Telly convinces him that he had a daughter who he doesn’t remember. Telly and Ash must find a way to prove that their children existed and fight against the forces that are wiping away their memories.

Within the mashup of the Science Fiction/Mystery genre, it’s not a bad film. What I remember liking about this film and what held my interest as an audience member is that Telly is so convinced that she had a son, that she goes nearly to the ends of the earth to provide that he existed.

I recommend it.

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Late Flashback Friday Post-Mother’s Day Edition- Stepmom (1998) & The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Being a mother is the hardest job in the world. It is a job that lasts a lifetime. The title of Mom is not a 9-5 job. But it is the most rewarding title a woman can have, if she chooses it.

In 1998’s Stepmom, Jackie Harrison (Susan Sarandon)  has been diagnosed with potentially life threatening cancer. Her ex-husband, Luke (Ed Harris) has settled down with Isabel Kelly (Julia Roberts).  Jackie, a stay at home mother, is trying to acclimate her children to their father’s new girlfriend. Isabel tries to balance her successful career as a photographer with her new responsibilities as a stepmother. Can Isabel and Jackie see eye to eye and come to terms with the life, the man and the children that they will be sharing?

I haven’t seen this movie in a long time, but it is a proper, heartbreaking drama. With an excellent cast and a realistic and potent story, this movie makes me grateful for my own mother and the sacrifices she made.

In the Kids Are All Right (2010), Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) have been together for a long time. Their children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson) were both conceived via artificial insemination.  Nic, the doctor, likes control and order while Jules, who is starting a landscaping business is less into control and order.

Enter Paul (Mark Ruffalo), Joni and Laser’s biological father and sperm donor. With the chaos that Paul brings to their lives,  what will happen when the dust settles? Will Paul be a permanent fixture in their lives or will he continue to be just the sperm donor?

I happen to like this movie very much. Not just that it disproves that LGBTQ couples are incapable of raising responsible, capable children, but also that their relationships are no different than their straight counterparts. It is also proves that families come in all different forms and life no matter your gender or sexual preference is never simple.

I recommend both.

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The Critics Were Wrong-Laws Of Attraction

I’ve decided to start a new segment entitled The Critics Were Wrong, where I will explain why a movie or a television show is good, despite what the critics say.

The first movie I will be writing about is Laws Of Attraction, a movie which the critics skewered.

This movie completely opposite from what the critics say.

Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) and Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) are dueling divorce lawyers. Daniel and Audrey agree to take the divorce case of rock star Thorne Jameson (Michael Sheen) and his designer wife, Serena (Parker Posey). The only thing that both Thorne and Serena want is the castle in Ireland that they purchased during the marriage’s happier days. So off to Ireland Audrey and Daniel go. After getting drunk at a local bar, they wake up the next morning finding that they have married. But to retain their professional reputations, their marriage must be kept a secret.  

I enjoy this movie. It reminds me of the rom coms of old Hollywood. The type of rom coms that were funny and entertaining without being so predictable that the audience could figure out the ending half way through the movie.

I highly recommend this movie, despite what the critics say. It is funny and charming and exactly what a rom com should be.

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Don Jon Review- There Is A First For Everything

Tonight, I saw the writing and directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film, Don Jon.

Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a twenty something Italian male from New Jersey who is fixated on the external images of himself and his world. While he has no problem finding female companions, he prefers pornography over the real thing.

He meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) at a club and they start a relationship.  But Jon is still addicted to porn, despite his promise to Barbara to stop.  She also encourages him to attend night school where he meets Esther (Julianne Moore).

Included in the cast of characters are Jon’s friends, Bobby (Rob Brown) and Danny (Jeremy Luke) and his family.  His parents,  Jon Sr, (Tony Danza) and Angela (Glenne Headley) and his sister Monica (Brie Larson).

There is a first for everything. While the lead character is certainly compelling, it is a very stereotypical view of Italians and more specifically, those of Italian descent who live in New Jersey. To paraphrase another reviewer, the character is almost out of Jersey Shore.

It an admirable first film for Gordon-Levitt, as a writer and director.  But it not the best film I have seen this year and I hope he will take both the good and the bad from this film and apply those experiences to future films.

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