|Top to bottom: The Tree of Life, The Help, Take Shelter
In my review of that film I wrote "Jessica Chastain completely immerses herself in Mrs. O’Brien and ... avoids the pitfalls of the “supportive mother” role while capturing the angelic beauty of her character." The range she's covered between these two performances is unbelievable. Both characters manage to transcend the screen but one does it with an ethereal other-worldly presence and the other with open-hearted emotional expressivity. And then there's her outstanding performance in Take Shelter, where she escapes archetypal conventions of the wife's role yet again and builds a character entirely her own.
This has been a fantastic year for an actress who was virtually unknown twelve months ago. At 30, she's a little older than Hollywood's typical new 'it' girls, which reminds me of another redhead beauty who started her career a little late, only to become one of cinema's legendary actresses. Julianne Moore was 33 when Short Cuts came out but she followed it immediately with Vanya on the 42nd Street and Safe. Moore is one of my favourite thespians of all time and not that many people, before or after her, have been as good, but for some reason I feel like there's more in common between the two than red hair and a late start.
|Julianne Moore in Boogie Nights