April 12, 2024

Julianne Moore lends her son out for sex

Look carefully at the slogan on the front poster Mary & George– the salacious new limited series about royal courts and courtship, starting April 5 on Starz – and you’ll discover a curious detail. “Lust. For power,” goes the line. The period after “lust” initially feels like a typo or an all-too-obvious wink, but it’s a bit of punctuation that ultimately creates the incredibly fun thematic ambiguity of reveal the show. Mary & George is just as much about lust for power as it uses lust reach that power. It’s a clever design trick, one that fits right in with the consummate excellence of the show itself. This series perfects even the smallest details, and the cunning construction of the slogan is just the first of countless decisions that ensure Mary & George a refined, nasty delight.

If you’re not a royal fan, fear not: I have less interest in the history of the monarchy than in basic math and science, and I got caught up in Mary & George within the first two minutes of the premiere. Much of that is thanks to the wonderful Julianne Moore, who sinks her teeth into the role of Countess of Buckingham Mary Villiers as if she were a Jacobean peasant, crunching on a turkey leg for some long-awaited sustenance (with all the wild carnage that image entails). entails). conjures). This is appropriate, considering that Mary desperately wants to rise above her original status and gain the favor of King James VI of Scotland and I of England (Tony Curran).

To force her way into the king’s circle, Mary enlists her second-eldest son George (Nicholas Galitzine) – not for war, but for fun. King James is known to prefer young, beautiful men in his bedroom, and George’s pouting puppy dog ​​is just the kind of thing she can use to secure her family’s name and never have to worry about it again about money or marriage. This, of course, proves difficult, as so many other suitors compete for the king’s wandering eye. But Mary is fearless and ruthless, and her methods of striving alongside Moore’s blissfully dirty act create a bacchanal of iniquity that is impossible to deny.

Mary’s position in life is not a pleasant one, at least not for a woman with high standards and even loftier dreams. She is the mother of four children, John (Tom Victor), Kit (Jacob McCarthy), Susan (Alice Grant) and George, but only her second eldest is a viable candidate for any future cultural cache. John is docile at times and violently deranged at others; Susan can barely form an interesting thought, let alone a driving ambition; and Kit, though a promising spirit, is of little value to Mary as her third born son. As John’s instability makes it difficult to marry off – and in turn obtain a significant dowry from a future wife’s family – Mary sets her sights on George, who is as headstrong as his head game is strong.

Like any son forced into glorified sexual servitude by his mother, George is rightly suspicious. But tensions abound in the king’s court, and George is soon lured by all the deceit and desire of those trying to win the king’s favor. Creator and co-writer DC Moore continually finds new ways to ramp up the tension, causing Mary and George to fall ever so slightly from grace when one of their plans goes awry. But neither side stays down for long, while Mary is always maneuvering. For her, the risk of becoming poor and helpless without a royal title is far greater than the risk of death if she is discovered by the king’s consorts.

There is an element of danger sharply woven throughout the show’s seven episodes, which helps Mary & George it feels like an actual limited series, rather than a movie script, stretched to its limits to fit a cable channel’s episode order. The pacing is consistent and upbeat, with Moore’s writing doling out new, twisted little surprises around every corner. However, attention must be paid to it. Mary & George is a show that rewards an eye undeterred by cell phones or the occasional bit of dense period dialogue. Everything, in every episode, matters. That’s a rare sight these days, even if the series are shorter than ever. But Moore is refreshingly ambitious, refusing to skimp on the scope of this sprawling, decades-long story.

With the other Moore – Julianne – on board, that diligence is necessary. It would be damned inexcusable to waste such a fierce talent, but Moore isn’t willing to waste even a little of the fun that brings. Mary & George guarantees. Julianne Moore is a force to be reckoned with, moving through every frame with the commanding presence of a character so confident in his status despite not yet having secured any power. She fills every frame with an ominous presence that sinks a pit in your stomach as you wonder what evil machinations Mary has in store. Moore is no stranger to being completely evil with her characters, but Mary is a new and special kind of character. She is exceptionally good at finding humanity in the most immoral of creatures, and Mary Villiers is no exception.

Watching Mary grow into a loving George, rather than tolerating his volatile, bisexual sensibilities, is one of the series’ most satisfying treats. The two form a bond forged by the white-hot flames of power, and Galitzine, despite being a fresher face on the scene than Moore, is just as wild as she is. After two banner roles in 2023 and starring in one of this year’s biggest films, Galitzine is no longer just primed for superstardom, he’s on the cusp. Mary & George is the best showcase of his talents yet, with George forever swinging between his growing affection for the king and his part in his mother’s mission. It’s a beautiful sight to see Galitzine’s pronounced lips curl into a wicked smile after George gets exactly what he wants, showing just how irresistible the character is to the debauched King James.

Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine in the series 'Mary & George' on Starz

Julianne Moore and Nicholas Galitzine


There is no shortage of scenes that portray this intensity. A lot of orgiastic entertainment awaits you, all with bare butts and without a condom. But despite all his plans and sex – of which there is so much –Mary & George is not solely dependent on physical ecstasy. The series features seven slick, intense episodes that mock the idea that our world today is very different from the 17th century. We still strive to rise above our station, still desperate for enough power and fame to make a difference in this world, and still unafraid to use what God and/or science (take your pick) a choice!) gave us to get there. Mary & George is a look at what happens when the id battles the ego to replace the other, and at all the lustful, foul-mouthed carnal sin and humor that comes from our most basic desires.

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