In “Shakespeare in Love,” Judi Dench needed only eight minutes of screen time to create a nuanced, powerful character and give a performance that would win her an Oscar. Small parts can make a movie, as Julianne Moore reminds us in “Being Flynn,” out Friday.
Moore plays Jody, a single mom who works two jobs — three, if you count raising a son who still holds out a glimmer of hope that his deadbeat father (Robert De Niro) will visit him. Moore’s in maybe five scenes, none longer than five minutes, but her presence (and her absence) echoes throughout the movie. When she’s with Nick, her son, she’s warm and honest and smiling, even when she’s clearly exhausted. When she’s alone — which she is only once, if memory serves — we can see what happens to a woman who cheerfully gives when she has nothing left.
Motherhood in popular culture is often reduced to either June Cleaver or Joan Crawford, but Moore hits the mark here as a woman who recognizes that perfection isn’t possible yet still straps on a baseball glove after a long day at work to get a few throws in with her boy. I don’t think Moore will take home an Oscar for “Being Flynn,” but she should get recognized for this small performance that makes a large impact.