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Being Julia (2004)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 123
Fresh: 94 | Rotten: 29

Annette Bening delivers a captivating performance in Being Julia, a sophisticated comedy that follows a 1930s stage diva who experiences an identity crisis at age 40.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 12

Annette Bening delivers a captivating performance in Being Julia, a sophisticated comedy that follows a 1930s stage diva who experiences an identity crisis at age 40.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 7,398

My Rating

Movie Info

A woman scorned unleashes her fury in this droll comedy based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham. Julia Lambert (Annette Bening) is a famous and well-respected actress, but though her life in the limelight seems glamorous, things are not going well for her off-stage. Julia's husband (Jeremy Irons) is unfaithful to her (and not especially discreet about it), her son is angry with her, and she's afraid she's losing her looks and allure as she advances further into middle age. In the midst of this,


Drama, Comedy

Ronald Harwood

Mar 22, 2005


Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (136) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (94) | Rotten (29) | DVD (25)

It is Bening that's worth the price of admission. She makes even the corniest line ring true.

November 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I enjoyed watching Ms. Bening in close to top form, and I think you will, too.

November 18, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bening brings such vitality to the role that she sweeps aside all the quibbles, and you have to sit back and enjoy what is a masterly performance by a great actor playing a great actor.

November 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is, of course, the sort of role about which actresses dream, and it is Annette Bening who brings Julia to raging, mischievous, unforgettable life.

November 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A pretty good picture wrapped around a great, Oscar-contender performance.

November 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Being Julia isn't perfect; but Bening is, and that makes the film sing.

November 5, 2004
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Annette Bening is great, but this isn't for kids.

October 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A beguiling romance about an aging actress at the peak of her career who embarks on an ill-advised, illicit affair with an admirer half her age.

February 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Princeton Town Topics
Princeton Town Topics

One of the best movies from this year's Telluride Film Festival

February 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

(...) Bening recorre todas las emociones posibles, desde la euforia histérica hasta la más absoluta depresión.

August 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Benning ... brings this constantly disguised vixen to ferocious, flamboyant life.

May 3, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

While much of Being Julia's appeal stems from no one being as fabulous as [Julia] is, the lack of a worthy sparring partner diminishes the fun.

April 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

[A] perfectly light comedic soufflé that is not intimidated by its characters' darker undercurrents.

March 22, 2005 Full Review Source:

Thank God for Being Julia, an Oscar-worthy comeback role that may just save one of our most gifted actresses from a life of way too much leisure.

March 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Weekly
Seattle Weekly

Watching Being Julia is like seeing a racehorse with an impeccable bloodline trudging across the finish line with the rest of the pack instead of out in front of it

February 23, 2005 Full Review Source:

There have been loads of comedies set in the world of theater, but few have the uncompromising, hard edge this film has.

February 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Annette Bening shines with a glow that is beyond confidence and beyond beauty. She picks up the sometimes-clunky material and carries it on her shapely shoulders.

February 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

The film desires to be a biting statement on the stage and real drama. It's misguided script fails to do either.

February 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Snobs
Film Snobs

Bening great in otherwise prosaic film

January 10, 2005
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Smeared by a very childish ending ... But there is that Bening performance to savor.

January 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

While the film isn't quite perfect, it's close enough - especially in Annette Bening's glorious lead performance - that it seems churlish to complain.

December 22, 2004 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Being Julia is strangely devoid of the one thing every great film needs: a hook.

December 16, 2004

Bening ... is radiant as ever and appears to be having an absolute blast.

December 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Eclipse Magazine
Eclipse Magazine

Ponderous and superficial, and no art deco fashions or tasteful drawing rooms can compensate for it.

November 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Annette Bening delivers her most scintillating performance to date in this wonderfully entertaining film.

November 28, 2004 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

It's impossible to take your eyes off Bening when she's on the screen, not just because she's lovely but because she makes being Julia seem so darned fun.

November 27, 2004 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Being Julia

Annette Bening is excellent, but I couldn't really invest in the movie overall.
April 14, 2014

Super Reviewer

Pleasant evening watching this DVD. Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons are splendid. The costumes are wonderful. The weak link--and it's a pretty big crack because the whole story revolves around it--is that the story starts out with Julia saying she wants something new and different and then proceeds to revert to her younger self which is old hat. What she really wanted was to stop growing old. Then, in the end she discovers she doesn't mind being alone and growing old because she has other qualities. I guess the movie accomplished what it set out to do, but perhaps the whole theme is too nuanced for a movie. I definitely think the chemistry between Julia and her young paramour was ridiculously unbelievable.
January 18, 2013
Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

This was okay. Not much of a story to it really, though. Wouldn't want to watch it again.
September 3, 2009

Super Reviewer

Actually, I did not like the movie... But I was impressed by the acting that Bening has... Why she lose to Hilary Swank?
June 4, 2006
Sanjaya 丘耀文

Super Reviewer

    1. Michael Gosselyn: The public are jackasses.
    – Submitted by Ira A (18 months ago)
    1. Julia Lambert: My husband's a devious little runt.
    – Submitted by Mauricio R (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Adorable Julia (FR)
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