Top Ten Working Actresses

Tie for #1 Annette Bening and Julianne Moore

by Matt Mazur

28 July 2010

It's no surprise that we've arrived at this conclusion, with Bening and Moore at the head of the class. The two greats play lesbian moms in Lisa Cholodenko's excellent new movie The Kids Are All Right, each hitting new career highs in a story about why we stay with the ones we love.
 

First Film:

[Bening]The Great Outdoors (Howard Deutsch, 1988)

[Moore] Tales from the Dark Side: The Movie (John Harrison, 1990)

Must-see:

[Bening] Bugsy (Barry Levinson, 1991); American Beauty (Sam Mendes, 1999); Being Julia (Istvan Stabo, 2004)

[Moore] Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights and Magnolia (1999); The Hours (Stephen Daldry, 2002); Savage Grace, (Tom Kalin, 2008)

Star Turn:

[Bening] The Grifters (Stephen Frears, 1990)

[Moore] Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes, 2002)

Underrated:

[Bening] In this year’s Mother and Child (Rodrigo Garcia), Bening gave her most mature, expressive performance as a woman who gave her baby up for adoption at age 14, yet there was very little in the way of praise for either her or the film, which deserves a second look.

[Moore] In Jane Anderson’s The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio (2005), many critics complained about Moore playing another mid-century housewife type and completely missed a low-key, heart-felt little performance full of passion and intelligence, followed closely by her haunted,  elegant turn as Yelena in Louis Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street.

Upcoming, Current and/or Recent: It’s no surprise that we’ve arrived at this conclusion, with Bening and Moore at the head of the class. The two greats play lesbian moms in Lisa Cholodenko’s excellent new movie The Kids Are All Right, each hitting new career highs in a story about why we stay with the ones we love. It is impossible to imagine anyone else in their roles. The film is playing in limited release and is the number one film I recommend for the summer season because of the two strong, talented women who top-line.

 

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