Being Julia Reviews
Set in the late 1930s London, Julia Lambert (Annette Bening) is a star of the stage. Everywhere she goes, Julia has a full on passion for the theatre. However, Julia tells her husband Michael (Jeremy Irons) that she is growing tired of the theatre, and decides that she doesn't want to act anymore. Julia then sets her sights on Tom (Shaun Evans), a young American who really likes her. And so, the two form a relationship. Now, Julia must either live the life of the theatre, or accept the reality of the world on her own merits.
"Being Julia" is okay at best. There are some good things, but the bad definitely outweighs the good. For one thing, the story is both predictable and boring. It's predictable in that we, as the audience, know what's going to happen, and it just drags the pacing, which was already slow to begin with. It's boring in that the characters , outside of Julia, do not have any real reason to care. If the characters are not interesting, why should the audience be invested in them? And going back to the pacing, it just drags on for what seems like an eternity. Two thirds of the movie are extremely dull, and there is no real excitement going on. It's only until the third act when things become engaging, as well as funny. The whole movie feels tedious that it makes you wish that it were over sooner.
With that being said, the film does have a few good qualities to it. For one thing, the technical side of things make this movie stand out. The costumes fit the time period of the 1930s well, and here, it looks great as it does provide a good recreation. Speaking of which, while not filmed in London, Hungary offers up a good source for some wonderful cinematography. This, in tune with the sound and musical score, give the film a sort of classical vibe to it. And while the characters may not work, the performances definitely do stand out. Especially Bening as Julia, who truly shines here. But that does not compensate the tiresome nature of the movie.
With all being said and done, "Being Julia" is a nice production about the theatre, it does leave a bored impression for the audience.
Rating: R 104 minutes Dramedy
Director: István Szabó
Writer: Ronald Harwood
Starring: Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Shaun Evans, Bruce Greenwood and Michael Gambon
It's London in 1938 and cinemas are taking over. Jimmie Langton (Michael Gambon who worked in film since 1965, including the Harry Potter series) is Julia's (Oscar-nominee and Golden Globe winner for this film) mentor. He whispers advice from the grave.
His husband/manager is Michael Gosselyn (Jeremy Irons, with multiple awards including a Oscar for Reversal of Fortune). Julie pines for Lord Charles (Bruce Greenwood, known for two Star Trek movies and Mad Men (TV), and falls a younger American (Shaun Evans, known for his work on television series and mini's).
Julia is big enough of a star that she improvises her lines but she is getting older. And bored of this play - which receives rave reviews. Gossip about her and her young lover is all over London. But her husband doesn't care - playing around with the up and coming actress in the husband and Julia's new play. (Think Bette Davis in "All About Eve".)
The flaws: the over-acting (Bening), the Lord could have written all together. The twist of the son's arrival wasn't much of a twist. The end of the movie went too long.
István Szabó is a Hungarian filmmaker with 36 credits, including films and shorts. He was nominated for a BAFTA for Oberest Redl (1986) and won a Golden Globe for Sunshine (1999).
Based on the W. Somerset Maugham novel "Theatre".
Ronald Harwood's credits for screenplays include, "The Pianist", "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," and "Quartet". He's won an Oscar for "The Pianist" and been nominated for three more. He also received two nominations for Golden Globes, four nominations for the BAFTAS, and won for Le scaphandre et le papillon (2007)
Robert Lantos has produced more than 70 television shows and films. He was nominated for a BAFTA (2008) and has won numerous Genie Awards (Canada).
Marion Pilowsky is known for writing, directing, and producing shorts. She went on to produce "Little Fish" with Cate Blanchett.
All these excellent performance both subtle and comical, but wasted on such a spineless and silly story.