Julianne Moore is on a roll, winning a Primetime Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a miniseries or television movie for her ringer portrayal of Sarah Palin in “Game Change.” And the actress has two movies coming out in May—a loosely adapted Henry James novel called “What Maisie Knew” and “The English Teacher.”
One of Moore’s strengths is her willingness not to play a nice person. David Siegel and Scott McGehee’s contemporary take on James’ heart-tugger debuted at Toronto (trailer below); Moore is terrific as a self-absorbed 40-something rock-star breaking up with her equally myopic art dealer husband Steve Coogan. The film is told from the perspective of their young child, Maisie (lovely Onata Aprile) as
she processes her parents’ divorce and their new relationships. The problem: she could use some attention and isn’t getting any. Moore’s new boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard) and nanny (Joanna Vanderham) seem to care more for her than her parents do.
NPR’s Linda Holmes wrote: “Moore is very good, if not entirely unexpected, as a nasty and self-involved bad mother.”
Moore changes gears with a more quiet but front-and-center role as “The English Teacher,” as a shy, unmarried high school English teacher living a small apartment in a small town. Rather than the volcanic emotional power plays in “What Maisie Knew,” here she’s a lonely woman emerging from self-isolation. Nathan Lane, Lily Collins, Michael Angarano and Greg Kinnear join Moore in this feature directed by Craig Zisk.