Film: Being Julia
Cast includes: Annett Bening (American Beauty), Jeremy Irons (The Merchant of Venice), Michael Gambon (Gosford Park)
Genre: Period light drama/comedy (2004)
In brief: Being Julia is a film adaptation of Somerset Maugham’s novel,
Theatre. It’s set in London in the late 1930’s in the beautifully decadent world of Julia, who is the reigning theatre diva of the day. When young Tom weasels his way into her world, she's swept away, even though he's half her age. This May-December affair… ignites a new spark in Julia, until she learns that Tom is only using her. But all is not lost. By the end, we find out that the old gal does have a trick or two up her sleeve.
A few tid-bits about the film. The screenwriter is Ronald Harwood (The Pianist), the director is Istvan Szabo, who usually directs serious eastern European social dramas. So the film, while being totally delicious, brainless entertainment has more depth and richness than most films of the genre. Many of the costumes were actual clothes of the period on loan from museums. Similar care went into the sets and other details of the film. The film is visually stunning, with many beautiful close-ups… which is a trademark of the director.
If you’re looking for deep meaning, this movie doesn’t have it. But I loved it. I was totally on the ride right from the very beginning. The richness of the production, the quality of the acting... especially Annett Bening... as well as the script itself had me hooked. Then there was the revenge… while it wasn’t totally unexpected, it was still surprising and wonderfully satisfying.
4 popped kernels
Popped kernels for fabulous acting (especially Annette), excellent script, interesting period piece, feel-good ending