One could certainly argue that a remake of Brian De Palma’s masterful “Carrie” doesn’t deserve a place on a list of the best Julianne Moore films. After all, Kimberley Pierce’s 2013 adaptation doesn’t come close to matching the impact of the original. Still, there’s something intriguing about Pierce’s version, which is very similar to the original, with some modern tweaks to place it in contemporary society.
Julianne Moore portrays a truly terrifying character as Carrie’s mother, Margaret White. She’s kept her daughter incredibly sheltered her entire life and has only recently been forced by the government to stop homeschooling her child. Margaret’s faith is extremely important to her, and she truly believes that the power of prayer can fix everything, which is something she’s ferociously bestowed upon her child, forcing Carrie into a prayer closet at every opportunity. As Margaret, Moore is genuinely frightening, but she’s anchored by humanity and a need to provide for her child. That makes her a rich and complicated villain.
Pierce’s film hardly reinvents the wheel, but there are some exciting visual effects, moments of genuine horror, and an outstanding Moore performance. The story of “Carrie” is so fantastic — a shy girl with discovers her telekinetic powers when she is tortured on prom night — that it’s thrilling to watch in any iteration. “Carrie” also shows us that there’s nothing Moore can’t do, which is why this unfairly maligned remake is a vital part of the actresses’ filmography.