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 »
nothing very special, but it's well acted and a fair job of direction
It's very hard to do much to muck up August Stringberg's original play, which has for over a century been one of those landmarks in theater that keep it a good item for drama classes and the occasional revival. If Mike Figgis does anything particularly strikingly with his Miss Julie, it's to try and capture the emotions that would have made it so controversial in its original release. It's intense work that Saffron Burrows and Peter Mulligan pull through, even if the end result almost makes the material seem about as cheerful as that little bird in the sod end of the darkest chimney in Sweden. It's also the kind of stage adaptation that stays fitfully faithful- hence without being too far-reaching with style (like, for example, Alf Sjoberg's strong and exciting adaptation of the 1950s)- and it's perfectly watchable drama all the way through. The terror and danger in this saga of two souls caught in a doomed situation is caught on well, even if there is something lacking to it that I can't quite put my finger on...
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