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Julie Johnson (2001)

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A woman attempts to realize the dreams she never knew she had.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Julie Johnson
Rick Johnson
Franky Johnson
Patrick Fitzgerald ...
Mr. Tom Miranda
Dana Chaifetz ...
Susan (as Dannah Chaifetz)
Catherine Miranda
Ms. Hensen (as Kelley Hill)
Gina Merchan ...
Girl 1 in Park
Girl 2 in Park (as Samara Harris)


A New Jersey housewife is dissatisfied with her everyday life because she is smarter than she or anyone else knows. While taking a computer class, Julie discovers her abilities and finds the courage to make dramatic life changes. This is a story of realizing one's potential and being willing to turn one's life upside down to take a chance on finding happiness. Claire, Julie's best friend, goes along with Julie's secret quest and eventually moves in with her. Both women are on a search to realize their dreams and come to terms with their love for each other. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The life you want is waiting to be found


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

26 January 2001 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lisa Johnson: Mom, is it true? Is everything that people are saying about you and Claire true?
Julie Johnson: We love each other. That's true.
Lisa Johnson: As what?
Julie Johnson: As... lovers.
See more »


She's Gone
Written and Performed by Liz Phair
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User Reviews

Too anachronistic for a contemporary audience.
11 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Julie Johnson is a harried, blue-collar housewife, living in New Jersey with her husband and children. Julie's bored and overwhelmed, but she has an intense interest in science. She subscribes to science mags, which she keeps hidden from her narrow-minded, domineering husband. Seems that he just can't fathom Julie's interest, in computers and science.

One day, Julie decides that she wants to take the High school Equivilency Exam, so that she can receive her High school diploma. Meanwhile, she also decides to enroll in computer courses at the local community college. Julie even encourages her best friend Claire, to enroll in the computer courses with her. Claire does so mainly to appease Julie, rather than out of any real interest in computers.

Julie's instructors discover that she has an innate talent for math and science. So much so, that they encourage Julie to apply to some elite colleges, after she passes her High school Equivalency Exam. Julie's Neanderthal husband, forbids Julie to enroll in school. She enrolls anyhow, without telling him. After he finds out, he goes ballistic. So does Julie, who boots him out of their home, during a ferocious argument between them.

Inspired by Julie's boldness when she dumps her caveman hubby, Claire runs away from her own stifling spouse. With no other place to go, she winds-up living with Julie and her kids. Claire and Julie gradually deepen their friendship, which evolves into a romantic relationship. The two consummate their romance in Julie's bed one night. Their lesbian relationship, causes Julie and Claire problems with their judgmental neighbors, friends, and Julie's disapproving children.

Claire and Julie have many ups and downs in their relationship. Julie seems to have more invested in it than Claire does. Julie urges Claire to become educated, and Claire resents Julie's insistence that she upgrade her status in society. Claire feels that Julie is just too intellectual, to understand her point of view. The two must decide if their differences can be bridged, in order to salvage their relationship.

Though this film is progressive, in that it depicts a mature lesbian romance between two women, much about the plot-line is rather anachronistic. First of all, though it's 2001, Julie and Claire's spouses act like it's the 1950s. Back then, men could still rule over their wives and kids. It's utterly absurd, that Julie feels the need to hide her science magazines from her husband, like a daughter would hide dirty magazines from her father.

Also, if Julie was so gifted in math and science, why didn't her teachers encourage her when she was still a young student? And why did Julie have to feel so ashamed of being a woman with intellectual interests, in this day and age? These are a few of the things about the overall plot premise, that just don't ad up.

The chemistry between Lili Taylor as Julie, and Courtney Love as Claire, is erotically charged from the get-go. Though she's reluctant initially to have a sexual relationship with Julie, Claire admits to having had the hots for Julie when they were teenagers. Their lovemaking sessions together, are sensual and romantic. Julie and Claire both enjoy their sexual trysts. But their relationship is also bogged-down with guilt, and internalized homophobia.

The best thing about this film, is the spunkiness of Julie. She's determined to pursue her educational goal and lesbian love affair, despite the resistance of those around her. The question is, why did the creators make a movie that is so obviously out-of-step with contemporary society, regarding it's attitudes towards lesbianism, and female empowerment?? If this movie had been made before 1970, it would've been cutting-edge. By today's standards, this film comes off as being very 'dated', regarding lesbians, and women in general.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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