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Julia is a drunk. She loses her job in real estate and at an A.A. meeting meets a neighbor, Elena, an addled Mexican woman who talks about having lots of money and a plan to kidnap her own son from the boy's grandfather, a wealthy businessman. Elena wants Julia's help. Julia says yes with her own plan to do this alone. Following Elena's plan, Julia manages to grab the boy, Tom, who's about 10. Now what? She asks for a ransom. Tom's grandfather and his money are connected directly to Mexican drug trafficking, so Julia is up against long odds. Will anyone make it out alive? Written by
First of all, let me just say that the fact that Tilda Swinton was snubbed an Oscar nomination last year for her riveting and colossally brilliant performance in 'Julia' just proves once and for all (well, it's been proved many times actually) that the members of the academy aren't watching the right movies. I had heard all the raves and I was prepared for greatness, but she really is stunningly perfect in this role; completely void of all vanity and stripped bare boned, completely in the moment. What I found so wonderful about the film though, was that it didn't simply rely wholly on Swinton to carry it. Sure, there are some plot improbabilities that strip it of a little integrity, but overall this film itself works very hard to keep up with Swinton in deserving your attention.
You will never guess what happens next.
That is one rarity that I really enjoyed about 'Julia'. It kept me guessing the entire time. It won me over with every plot twist and new development because it fit without being predictable. Sure, the ending was a tad comparable to a 'sellout' (the single worst component to the film outside of Kate del Castillo's inconsistently unbearable performance), but it really isn't the ending as much as the last line of dialog that kind of dampens the film impact.
Really, just know that while Swinton is the best thing about this film, she is not the only reason to watch it.
'Julia' tells the story of Julia Harris; an alcoholic who is uncontrollably selfish and completely reprehensible. The first thirty minutes or so of the film simply introduce us to her lifestyle and help us to, well, dislike her. I love the performance and the treatment of Julia so much because we are never given a single reason to sympathize with her (well, until the end which is kind of expected even if it was a tad disappointing). We are basically told from the beginning that Julia is an awful person. Swinton makes sure that we believe that. When Julia is approached by a fellow AA member who is in dire need of some help, she finds herself neck deep in a LOT of trouble. Before she knows it, Julia has kidnapped an eight-year-old boy and is holding him for ransom.
But, Julia keeps digging that hole of hers deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper.
The plot is so rich with originality (I mean, this material was so much stronger than I expected) that I'm just completely blown away that more people aren't campaigning this film. Yes,some of the sequences in the film run a little improbable, and some of the films overall dynamic is lost in the endings attempt at humanizing Julia, but many of the films core aspects are remarkably unique. Deciding to create a film that centers around a woman so despicable yet utterly human was a risk that I am SO glad Erick Zonca took.
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