Midsummer night, 1894, in northern Sweden. The complex strictures of class bind a man and a woman. Miss Julie, the inexperienced but imperious daughter of the manor, deigns to dance at the servant's party. She's also drawn to Jean, a footman who has traveled, speaks well, and doesn't kowtow. He is engaged to Christine, a servant, and while she sleeps, Jean and Miss Julie talk through the night in the kitchen. For part of the night it's a power struggle, for part it's the bearing of souls, and by dawn, they want to break the chains of class and leave Sweden together. When Christine wakes and goes off to church, Jean and Miss Julie have their own decisions to make. Written by
Mike Figgis originally planned to make this with Nicolas Cage and Juliette Binoche. However, when he made _Leaving Las Vegas_ with Cage, the actor's salary was a manageable $200,000. Following his Oscar win, Cage's price shot up to $20 million. See more »
It's movies like this that restore one's faith in the movie business. Sure, this movie is based on a play and some may find it stagey or theatrical, but it is, nonetheless, as powerful a movie experience as this particular reviewer has ever had.
Saffron Burrows brings quite a bit to the table here: the depth of her concentration and commitment to the role of Miss Julie is transcendent and breathtaking. She captures one's attention so completely that there is no hope for release until the performance's end. Her beauty and skill as an actress are unsurpassed in modern times and it baffles me to no end that she is not more widely recognized and celebrated. Peter Mullar in the role of Jean is superb and deserves more recognition.
Figgis' Miss Julie is a more faithful telling of Strindberg's play than the more 'cinematic' Sjoberg version of 1950. Where Figgis employs economy, Sjoberg lengthened with unnecessary flashbacks, dampening much of the power of the original play. Months after watching Miss Julie I find myself still mesmerized and enraptured by its web.
Congratulations to Mike Figgis and all persons involved in the project. It is only unfortunate that more people will not see Miss Julie. It deserves and is worthy of your attention.
Note to Saffron: you are brilliant and inspire me to take my work to a higher level.
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