Julia - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Julia Reviews

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September 16, 2012
Swinton was magnificent. She kept me watching although I felt like the story got dragged out quite a bit. It's worth your time.
September 10, 2012
Tilda Swinton = I WILL SEE IT!
½ August 27, 2012
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.
August 26, 2012
I could not like this film more. Yes, it's messy. Yes, it's extreme... but it is precisely for these reasons that I adore it. In this age of one slick, bland, impeccably crafted and neutered blockbuster suppository after the other and at a time when so-called independent films are so often just show reels for wanna-be future suppository crafters, this is a breath of pure, animalistic, delightfully anarchic, fresh air. It is truly cinematic, ambitious, original and brilliant. The dialogue is a bit weak in places and it feels like it was edited in a rush, but those are my only complaints. Swintons performance is full of fantasy and compassion and anyone who has ever spent time around hard-core drinkers will know that it is 100% realistic. The entire experience of watching this film is like a binge weekend for the viewer: All threads unravel, reason becomes skewed and when sobriety finally kicks in, you are left with nothing. I was swept along in a complete state of reverie and found myself breathless and wishing it could go on longer when it ended. The colourful mix of characters and landscapes are beautifully framed and lit. The whole thing is like a bizarre European fairytale of what America is like.
August 19, 2012
A surprisingly good tense thriller with an excellent performance from Tilda Swinton.
July 29, 2012
Tilda Swinton makes a fierce heroine(or whatever she is, I'm not sure), but this movie is way too long, by about an hour.
July 11, 2012
Julia is part Character study part thriller which at its heart works best with the latter material.

Tilda Swinton is as always great as the alcoholic loser who goes to extreme measures to make something for herself by kidnapping the boy of a next door neighbour, whos father is very worthy. She recognises she is a woman with low morals and fights her corner every time, including a great scene between her and very brief Jude Ciccolella.
This story tread works very well, but the director who seems to want it all throws in action and silliness once the kidnap has been done.
The film loses sight of its interesting core, which is evident in the abrupt disappointing ending. Still good performances and a strong first act make the film worth the watch.
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 ...
June 18, 2012
I enjoyed this very much. Watching things spiral out of control was thrilling. Tilda Swinton is great, as usual.
May 27, 2012
There are few actresses working today who are as spellbinding to watch as Tilda Swinton. It has taken me far too long to watch what may be her most gripping performance so far in "Julia," a thriller that immediately draws you in, and then dares you to look away.

Julia Harris (Tilda Swinton) is an alcoholic who spends her nights partying at bars and nightclubs, only to wake up in bed next to strange men in the morning. She has very little self respect, and early in the film she loses her job. Her only friend Mitch (Saul Rubinek) is an ex-alcoholic who helps her out financially, but threatens to cut her off after she is fired, unless she goes to AA meetings to get help for her drinking problem. It is at one of these meetings where she meets Elena, an unstable woman who asks Julia for help in a scheme to kidnap her 11-year-old son Tom (Aidan Gould), who was taken away from her to live with his wealthy grandfather.

In return for her help, Elena tells Julia that she can pay her $50,000, which she claims is a portion of a large inheritance she has received. After much contemplation, Julia decides that the money outweighs any consequence, but of course the half-baked plan goes from the start, and Julia ends up on the run in Mexico with Tom tied up in her trunk, and a gun that she struggles to figure out how to load.

At one point in the film, Mitch confronts Julia about her choice to go along with Elena's plot to get her son back. He says, "We all knew that Elena's stupid, insane story about getting her kid back was bullshit, we heard it over and over again at meetings. Why is it that you were the only one that believed her?" Julia is not a stupid woman, but a desperate one who gets in over her head. We do not like Julia, we do not sympathize with her, and we want her to pay the price for what she has done. But there are times when we somehow want her to get through this ordeal in one piece, and of course, we hope see poor Tom returned safely to his grandfather.

This is the first work I have seen by French filmmaker Erick Zonka, and it won't be the last. His direction is sharp and revealing, as he stages some astonishing scenes of tension, urgency and realism. The script by Zonka and Aude Py is incredibly sincere, the cinematography by Yorick Le Saux is superb, and the U.S. and Mexico locations give the whole experience the stark authenticity that is requires. It is hard not to believe everything that happens to Julia in the film, as it all seems so inevitable based on the choices she makes. That is great screenwriting, and why Swinton likely decided to take on such a challenging and bitter role. There is an interesting story going on in "Julia," and the central character is caught in a web of debt and self-deceit, which she turns outward at the chance to get some money and to turn her luck and her life around.

Taking on this complex character, Swinton is a force beyond all categories. Aside from much of her earlier work, I have seen most of the films she has done-I still need to find the time to watch "I Am Love" and "Broken Flowers"-and she has never once done something that is any less than interesting. This may be her finest performance yet, from what I have seen, and that is saying a lot. Consider her Oscar winning work in "Michael Clayton," her hilarious performance in "Burn After Reading" and her scene-stealing work in both "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and the action-horror movie "Constantine." Connecting the dots, I think that we can expect more great things from Swinton.

Why this stunning, pulse-pounding film did not garner more attention when it was released in 2008 puzzles me, but should anyone feel uncertain about its accessibility, rest assured that "Julia" is as approachable as any great mainstream thriller in recent years, and on top of that, it stars Tilda Swinton. You just can't go wrong.
½ May 13, 2012
Bar the two stand-out performances from the boy and Swinton, this film underperforms.
April 4, 2012
An unforgettable performance by Tilda Swinton who takes viewers on a 2 and a half hour ride full of suspense, drama and a roller coaster plot that will have you riveted. Not to be missed!
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.
March 22, 2012
watched tonight-- Tilda Swinton is a really good actress
Super Reviewer
½ February 2, 2012
Pretty damn good movie that's most definitely carried by Tilda Swinton's excellent performance. The writing for the character is good and there is good progression, but the movie is made by Tilda, who pulls off a one-woman show. The movie could've been better and shorter, but I can't complain much.
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
½ January 26, 2012
amasing nature and photography,too!
½ January 21, 2012
So different than I expected. Too long. No resolution on the fundamental barrier of Julia's life - her alcoholism. Yet Tilda Swinton gives such a fierce performance that I was mesmerized. Much less effective if she had been a man. Absorbed a rainy winter afternoon very well.
January 3, 2012
Another great performance by Tilda Swinton. The film really fastens up in the second half, and if the first half was as strong, it would get my full 5 stars. Definitely worth watching.
December 19, 2011
There's a rule of thumb in Hollywood that's dangerous to ignore when writing scripts: you need to lay out in the first 10 pages what I'll call the plot of the movie. Not giving anything away, but you have to establish the protagonist (the hero), what the protagonist needs, who is preventing the protagonist from getting what he needs, and what has to be overcome to get there. If you don't give that to the audience in the first ten minutes, forget it. This picture Julia gives you nothing. The protagonist is obviously an antihero because she's a drunken bitch, and all she is for that 10 minutes is a drunk being a bitch. So what I do in such cases is stop watching. I have better things to do. When you work in the business and you read scripts, often you don't get to page 10 before you toss one in the trash. My bowel movements are more interesting.
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