It’s been eight years since Julia Roberts’s last big leading role, Eat Pray Love, hit theaters. Since then, she’s been working—steadily, I might add—and has even nabbed herself another Oscar nomination (for 2013's August, Osage County). But here’s the thing: no one saw August, Osage County, and her work in Larry Crowne, Mirror Mirror, Secret In Their Eyes, Mother’s Day, and Money Monster was the acting equivalent of me confidently calling in a prescription for anti-fungal cream to CVS. (And before you get snippy, yes, I’ve seen all of those movies, as my membership to the Julia Roberts fan club has no expiration date.)
But then 2017 happened. While it flew under the radar, the surprisingly moving family film Wonder was a bona-fide hit (it took in over $300 million worldwide), and her performance was, to quote my mother, “fantastic.” Roberts seemed to care again, and it’s not uncommon for a forty-something woman to set the foundation for a big career boost by accepting well-written roles as no-nonsense mothers who inspire their children—and their audiences—with their big hearts and penchant for tough love. (See: Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, Viola Davis in The Help.) Then there was the news that she booked her first prestige television show, Amazon’s adaptation of the buzzy fictional podcast Homecoming. Not to mention her upcoming awardsy film Ben Is Back, written and directed by Peter Hedges (father of Lucas, who co-stars alongside Courtney B. Vance).
And now, we have these images of Roberts in full, gasp-inducing glam as she poses for a photo shoot which could easily be for a publication like, umm, Vanity Fair? Elle? Who else. Maybe something weird like People?! Nah, I’m gonna stick with Elle.
What’s next for that big smile of hers, sci-fi? Another season of Homecoming? A return to the big-budget, Richard Curtis-penned (or, even better, P.J. Hogan) romcom world? Erin Brockovich: Here We Go Again? Whatever her five-year plan is, I can’t wait. The spotlight looks good on her.