best film:   Julianne Moore’s riches in this category embarrasses even other all-time great actresses. The fact that the answer is not Boogie Nights, Magnolia or The Big Lebowski is just astounding. The answer is Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. Julianne Moore plays the Janet Leigh in Psycho role so to speak in Children of Men– but she is still integral. Magnolia is not far off of course. Moore’s work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s opus is just to play one of the many petals on the flower- an incredible ensemble. Moore is acting with her hair on fire- sensational- she puts her foot down and owns the scenes she is in- regardless of how many minutes she is on the screen- but more on that below.


Julianne Moore in Children of Men– few actors this side of Robert De Niro are in three of the top 100 films of all-time


best performance:    Safe and Boogie Nights are close (the majority of critics would pick Far from Heaven and that is not far off either). A half hour into Safe you may not be convinced this is Moore’s best, but by the time the film concludes, Moore’s transformation will bowl you over.


Julianne Moore in Todd Haynes’ Safe– ambiguous, filled with paranoia- she is like a Lynne Ramsay vessel—retreating, frail— very physical performance.


stylistic innovations/traits:   Twenty-one archiveable films and counting, four masterpieces, three top 100 films- the case for Julianne Moore on this list is strong. She can do everything in terms of range and clearly had the respect of the best auteurs of her era (see below).  When thinking about Moore’s notable traits it is as much about her lighting up the screen for brief moments in films like Short Cuts, The Big Lebowski and Children of Men as much as her central performances. Julianne Moore can rightly claim to be the best actress that has emerged since the beginning of the 1990s.


Moore puts her stamp on many the best films of the 1990s regardless of the amount of screen time- here in The Big Lebowski


directors worked with:  Moore is loaded here. Todd Haynes (3), Robert Altman (2), Paul Thomas Anderson (2) and then Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg, Joe Wright and the Coen Brothers all once.


from Far from Heaven – Todd Haynes’ camera lingers on Moore during pivotal scenes—the film and drama of it is really a series of crushing blows for her—when Quaid’s character says he has fallen in love, the sublime train departure of Haysbert’s character.


top five performances:

  1. Safe
  2. Boogie Nights
  3. Far from Heaven
  4. Children of Men
  5. The Hours


Moore plays Amber Waves in Boogie Nights– this ensemble piece is a surrogate family (like Goodfellas again)—Jack’s (Burt Reynolds) house is the center, he is the surrogate father, and Moore is the surrogate mother.



archiveable films

1993- Short Cuts
1993- The Fugitive
1994- Vanya on 42nd Street
1995- Safe
1997- Boogie Nights
1998- The Big Lebowski
1999- Cookie’s Fortune
1999- The End of the Affair
1999- Magnolia
2002- Far from Heaven
2002- The Hours
2006- Children of Men
2007- I’m Not There
2009- A Single Man
2010- The Kids Are Alright
2012- What Maisie Knew
2014- Still Alice
2014- Maps to the Stars
2015- Maggie’s Plan
2018- Gloria Bell
2021- The Woman in the Window