Directed by Kimberly Peirce. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Ansel Elgort, Barry Shabaka Henley. (2013, R, 92 min.)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 25, 2013

There’s still no sin like original sin, and whether it’s Stephen King’s source novel, Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic, or Kimberly Peirce’s modern-day update, Carrie remains one master manipulator. And I’m not just talking telekinesis here – Carrie moves us with its horrific yet poignant takes on the teenage pecking order, religious zealotry, and the onset of menstruation. This is one girl who will not be underestimated.

The world had no great need for this remake of De Palma’s film, although Peirce’s version does downplay some of the earlier film’s more voyeuristic tendencies in the locker room and elsewhere. Her version also opens differently – with the bloody birth of Carrie to her mother Margaret White (Moore), a religious fanatic who accepts the baby as God’s curse. The major update in Peirce’s version is the use of cell phones to record the shower-scene humiliation of Carrie (Moretz) and then later upload of the video to the Internet where the teenager can be ridiculed and bullied in perpetuity.

As the mother and daughter in the 1976 version, Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek have long since passed into iconic status. Julianne Moore and Chloë Grace Moretz, however, perform their own dance quite stunningly as well, and make their relationship seem a bit more naturalistic than De Palma’s baroque telling. Yet nothing can really top the split-screen tour de force of De Palma’s prom-scene finale.

Carrie has proved itself to be a remarkably resilient tale that’s not likely to be plugged up anytime soon.

More Kimberly Peirce Films
A real-world fuse burns throughout the military drama of Stop-Loss, the Austin-lensed film by Boys Don't Cry's Kimberley Peirce that stars Ryan Phillippe.

Marc Savlov, March 28, 2008

Boys Don't Cry
Without resorting to dogma, ideological tracts, or cautionary tales, Boys Don't Cry evocatively tells the true story of a young Nebraska woman who changed her sexual identity and transformed herself (sans surgery) into a young man. Swank won her first Oscar for this role.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Dec. 24, 1999

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
The Last Word
A young writer has to pen a woman's obituary before she dies

March 24, 2017

Actor Martinez
A meta-movie about a struggling actor

March 24, 2017


Carrie, Kimberly Peirce, Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Portia Doubleday, Ansel Elgort, Barry Shabaka Henley

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