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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Wednesday June 12, 2024
Wednesday June 12, 2024

Demi Moore’s gory new horror film ‘The Substance’ could land her an Oscar

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At Cannes, Demi Moore’s bold performance in ‘the substance’ divides critics but garners her career-best reviews

Demi Moore’s new horror film, The Substance, has captivated and divided audiences at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, directed by Coralie Fargeat, showcases Moore in a shocking and transformative role that could potentially earn her an Oscar. In The Substance, Moore plays a faded Hollywood superstar who undergoes an experimental procedure to regain her youth. The procedure involves injecting a mysterious fluid that causes a younger version of herself, played by Margaret Qualley, to emerge from her back. However, the experiment comes with a caveat: Moore’s character can only inhabit her younger body for seven days at a time, leading to horrific consequences when the conditions are not met.

The film received an 11-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere, highlighting Moore’s daring performance. Critics have been polarized by the film, with some praising it as an audacious masterpiece, while others criticize it as lacking depth in its commentary on women, age, and Hollywood. Despite the mixed reviews, Moore’s performance has been universally acclaimed. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich remarked on Moore’s boldness, particularly in the film’s shocking final act, describing her performance as jaw-dropping. The BBC hailed Moore as fearless in her portrayal, while The Telegraph and Variety commended her for capturing a range of intense emotions, from anger to despair.

Moore’s role in The Substance stands out as one of the most challenging and risky of her career. Throughout her decades-long career, Moore has consistently pushed the boundaries of her physical form in her roles. From her iconic nude and pregnant Vanity Fair cover in 1991 to her muscular transformation in GI Jane, Moore has always used her body to tell compelling stories. In The Substance, Moore’s physicality is once again at the forefront, with her character’s grotesque transformation serving as a central element of the film’s narrative.

The film’s divisiveness lies in its approach to themes of ageing and Hollywood’s obsession with youth. Some critics see the film as a profound exploration of these issues, while others view it as exploiting them without offering meaningful insights. Regardless, Moore’s performance has sparked a conversation about her talent and versatility as an actress. Historically, Moore has often been overshadowed by her personal life and high-profile marriages to Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher. Her demand for equal pay with male stars in the 1990s also earned her the derisive nickname “Gimme Moore.” However, her role in The Substance is shifting the focus back to her acting prowess.

Reflecting on her career, Moore’s ability to subvert and exploit her physical form has been a consistent theme. In Indecent Proposal (1993), she portrayed a woman who commodifies her body for a million dollars. In Disclosure (1994), her character’s sexual confidence and emotional detachment threatened the men around her. Striptease (1996) and GI Jane (1997) saw Moore pushing her body to its limits, with the former featuring her as an exotic dancer and the latter as a female Navy Seal. These roles showcased Moore’s commitment to challenging herself and breaking stereotypes.

The Substance continues this trajectory, offering Moore an opportunity to explore the grotesque and the macabre. Her portrayal of a woman desperate to reclaim her youth, only to face horrific consequences, resonates with contemporary concerns about ageing and beauty standards. Moore’s willingness to embrace such a physically and emotionally demanding role underscores her dedication to her craft.

Demi Moore’s performance in The Substance is a testament to her enduring talent and willingness to take risks. While the film has divided critics, it has undeniably reignited interest in Moore’s career, positioning her as a strong contender for the Best Actress prize at Cannes and possibly an Oscar. As Moore continues to challenge herself and redefine her career, The Substance marks a significant milestone in her journey as an actress.

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