Julia Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 10, 2012
Excellent performances buoy this seat-of-your-pants day-in-the-life of an lying, manipulative, alcoholic never was almost at the end of the line and fully aware of it. The story, though, like a drunk at the end of the night, does some mindless veering around ...
Super Reviewer
½ January 17, 2011
This film is put out by Magnolia Home Ent. Julia is an alcoholic who meets a women who lives across from her that want's Julia to kidnap her son from his grandfather for $50,000 dollars. Julia does everything wrong. After winding up in Mexico, the child she kidnaps is kidnap by Mexicans mean while 2 million dollars is on the way to the airport. In the end what does Julia end up with, if I tell you that it wouldn't be worth watching. A good one to see at home by yourself cause 7 out of 10 people would not enjoy it. 3 stars
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2009
What a performance!
Tilda Swinton really "knocks it out of the park" here as the tragic Julia.
I wish I could say that alcoholism was her only problem, but by the end of this film I was convinced that her "issues" ran much deeper and that and that the booze was just her way of "self medicating".
In any case it is a highly engaging look at what desperate people will do to avoid (the sometimes brutal reality of) life.
It does (at times) feel a bit over the top, but when you consider the fact that there are actually people out there living life in this manner...
I kept reminding myself that,what is "crazy" to us is simply someone elses reality.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2009
I'll admit, I've done some pretty stupid things in the haze of a drunken stupor. I went for a walk in my underwear. I climbed a four story water tower to paint 'class of 1980'. I even woke up in the middle of a cemetery with a wreath around my neck that said 'Rest In Peace'. But I've never been so intoxicated that I thought that kidnapping an eight year old boy and running off to Tijuana was a good idea.

This little gem of a film works because it's performance driven. Tilda Swinton and Kate del Castillo shine. Not since The Lost Weekend have I felt this much empathy for such self destructive characters. A memorable, memorable motion picture.
Super Reviewer
½ November 28, 2009
As shamelessly biased as I am towards the monumental abilities of our transcendent goddess of cinephilia that is La Tilda of Swinton, I was still a little in awe of her raw, not to mention brave, performance as Julia. She is utterly convincing as, let's be honest here, a quite a repulsive woman. Someone who, at the very least, is profoundly flawed - a self-centred alcoholic lush who cares about no-one and wears her propensity towards self-destruction on her sleeve. Who then goes one step further towards obliterating any last vestiges of sympathy she may have elicited from the people around her and us, the audience, by doing the unthinkable - kidnapping a child for ransom.
If that isn't bad enough, the rough treatment she metes out on the boy verges on cruelty and spite and her carelessness with him is unflinching (locking him in the boot of her car till he shits himself, screaming obscenities at him while waving a gun in his face, gagging him and leaving him tied to the radiator of the motel room, abandoning him in the Mexican desert at night). It's deeply upsetting to watch and you wonder how you can engage with this mascara smeared devil. And yet, yes, we are still rooting for her?? Highsmith fans will be smacking their chops with relish.
It's not until the last 40 minutes or so, when the mother instinct breaks through the seemingly hard-as-nails but still very brittle exterior, that her humanity and compassion spills out at last. (It's been an emotional slog getting there so our relief is palpable). As she awakes (from a night of filth with her Mexican trick) and her poor wretched captive tyke is lead in to her, bathed in the warm orange and yellow glows of a South American sunrise, the dispossessed lush and motherless son seem to bond. It's a profoundly moving scene (reminding me a little of the restorative feel that the later scenes in 'Irreversible' invoked) and just about stops you wanting to kick Julia into submission. Can Julia redeem herself? Unfortunately for them, it may be too late for redemption as events take a terrible turn and spiral even further out of Julia's control. Will anyone get out of this one alive?
The ending is frustratingly abrupt but also kind of perfect - I'd love to know how things panned out. But whatever happens next is a whole different story of course and nothing is better than imagination for filling in the gaps.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2009
Tilda Swinton is a beast. Performance of the year thus far, and almost certainly unlikely to be topped. Put this alongside anything else she's ever done and you will be stunned by the radical differences; normally asked to be (or at the very least appear to be) stately and composed, she is a degenerate, crumbling sexpot here, a mess of half-broken physicality and shallow swaggering. A viewer is given very little backstory, but Swinton offers us a wealth of imaginative detail that allow us to paint a vivid portrait of this woman. Assuredly, Julia has led a life that was once entitled and thrilling, but that has slowly hit the deep end as she ages. She barely seems capable of picking up the pieces, let alone orchestrating a complex kidnapping plot. But she has her strengths - she's a devious and masterful improviser, has no qualms about lying, and is infinitely more lucky than she claims to be - and through virtue of all this she manages to take us through two hours of her criminal antics. Her audacity is so bottomless that the movie, even as it gets more and more convoluted in its twilight hours, remains compelling. Eventually your head is completely under the surface right there with Julia, but the fun of it all is seeing whether or not she can pull you out.

I'm not necessarily sure I'd call this character complex, but she is bizarre, and most importantly she is completely believable. Well, "believable"; it's horrifying to think that any human would sink to the depths that Julia does, and yet that's exactly what we watch her do, for two and a half hours. Swinton perfectly embodies this alcoholic floozy, and though I'd never really call her sympathetic, she's always interesting, which is never a bad thing in a movie. Julia is a film that's constantly changing its face, and Swinton is its anchor. You could call it a thriller, crime drama, or character portrait, and in its slight longwindedness it's all of these things, but as a whole it floats above conventional genre labels. It's really a highwire act, a personification of a woman living on the edge of her seat, and a challenging project for any viewer who's willing to learn about a generally unlikable but enthralling character.
Super Reviewer
½ September 4, 2009
Tilda Swinton is excellent in this...kind of like a new-age Bad Lieutenant with Tilda going from one smoking and drinking binge to another until she agrees to kidnap a lady's son and deliver him to his multi-millionnaire grandfather from $2 million. The movie starts off interesting enough, but loses steam - and believability - consistently throughout. They both get kidnapped, she loses and finds him several times and the film just seems to drag on even beyond it's almost 2 1/2 hours.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2009
Swinton bids for Oscar glory playing a walking car crash alcoholic pathological liar. Character building first half leads in to a less satisfactory kidnap thriller which is rather drawn out and overly contrived. The developing relationship between Swinton and her young kidnapee is interesting.
Super Reviewer
March 31, 2010
This movie is all Tilda Swinton. Well, okay, and a great forward-momentum narrative that hurtles through the plot much further than you'd ever expect it to. Tilda Swinton is Julia, an aging alcoholic living like a youthful partier despite being about 15 years too old for it. The movie's engaging fascination is watching just how anarchically out-of-control Julia goes from binge to binge. Between her liquor-induced histrionics and bitter moments of sobriety that still seem suspicious drunken, her latest foible for a quick fix - another well of money to quaff from - is a loosely-planned kidnapping scheme of a rich guy's kid, and it doesn't take long for it to spiral madly out of her grasp, ballooning into an incident beyond anybody's expectations. The ensuing saga eventually carries Julia from San Diego to Tijuana with the kidnapped boy. Gradually, the viewer sees a kind of intensifying sincere desperation for when the kid she 'napped is under various new threats, especially after they get to Mexico, revealing that she may care more than she, or us, thought she might. Though the editing was a little uneven - from being a belligerent cartoon alcoholic one scene jumping to quiet calmness the next (Me: "Uh, I guess that scene resolved itself, then.") - and her character transformation was rushed towards the climax, the movie is nevertheless a great exercise in escalating tension and a true showcase of an actress absolutely in the zone. I felt Swinton was a relatively undeserving Oscar winner for Michael Clayton, but it feels much better now after she got jobbed in even getting buzz for this otherwise little-known indie gem.
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2009
[font=Century Gothic]In "Julia," every night is party night for Julia Harris(Tilda Swinton) as she drinks heavily, blacks out and goes home with a different man every night. And some times, she does not even make it that far. Her friend Mitch(Saul Rubinek), himself a recovering alcoholic, has had it with her atrocious behavior, having gotten her a job at a real estate office that she promptly loses by drinking in the middle of the day. He advises her to attend a meeting which she does for a little while until she becomes nauseous from the goodwill. It is there that she meets Elena(Kate del Castillo) who enlists her to help her get her son Thomas(Aidan Gould) back from his grandfather for $50,000. That's not enough for Julia as she tries to enlist her old friend Nick(Jude Ciccolella) to double cross her but he is smart enought to decline. At least, Leon(Eugene Byrd) is willing to sell her a gun...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]Tilda Swinton is an extraordinary actress with a regal presence in all of the films she does but with "Julia," a riveting if overlong character study, she turns it up a notch by fully inhabiting a character that is one step above the gutter and so self-centered that she cannot see the harm she is doing to herself or others for that matter. Telling the story entirely from Julia's point of view is a bit tricky because it obscures the fact that maybe she is the real villain of the piece. It is amazing that Julia has gotten this far without getting AIDS, killing somebody in a car accident or any other form of rock bottom that would make her rethink her life which might be impossible since she is living entirely in the present. Julia has trust issues but they come from her trusting too easily. Her basic survival possibly comes down to pure luck but how long can that last?[/font]
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2012
As almost everyone that has seen this film would say, the most notable thing about it is the remarkable performance from Tilda Swinton. She completely inhibits her character, it was a genuinely chilling depiction of an seemingly amoral alcoholic. It was so good, in fact, that it reminded me almost of Charlize Theron's performance in Monster, which Ebert rightfully called "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema," Swinton seems to have the same versatility and depth the Theron has. The film also has merit in that its very effective as a thriller in addition to a character study. Though the plot is far-fetched, its filmed and acted in such a manner that it has a sense of realism, and is always engaging with its relentless pace. What keeps it from being a truly great film, however, are some notable plot holes (one major character simply disappears with no explanation) and an unsatisfactory ending.

4/5 Stars
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2010
A stunning performance from Tilda Swinton, she's an actress who isn't afraid to go for broke. Her character is seen as an alcholic low-life on the verge of humility. It's only when she agrees to kidnap a young child her personality changes with great warmth and empathy.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2009
Bar the two stand-out performances from the boy and Swinton, this film underperforms. I guess I had too high expectations because I was waiting for a tour de force of a performance that never came. I just didn't believe anything that happened. Plus it reminded me too much of Burn After Reading, other than the plot, the main character manages to screw everything up, get people hurt or killed and is totally self-centred. No redeeming features whatsoever.
½ March 31, 2012
So twisted and interesting - I kept watching to see how it would end, but many slow and kinda bad moments. Tilda Swinton does a nice job.
November 1, 2009
One of the most smart and well written screenplays I've seen in a long time. Swinton deserves an oscar for her performance.
½ October 5, 2009
Swinton busts loose (bout time!) and you do NOT know what is going to happen from moment to moment in this flick - can't say that so often any more.
½ August 15, 2009
Tilda Swinton's amazing performance makes the film. She puts so much thought into every role. It's a good story, fine direction and cinematography. It's a very detailed film. One complaint, more should have been cut, it's overlong.
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