1938. Julia Lambert and Michael Gosselyn are the royal couple of the London theater scene, Julia an actress and Michael a former actor who took over running the theater and its troupe upon the passing of their mentor, Jimmie Langton. Jimmie is still constantly with Julia in spirit as she navigates through life. Besides their work, Julia and Michael lead largely separate lives, they long ago having stopped a sexual relationship. Julia of late has been feeling disenchanted with her life, she not wanting to admit it's because she is approaching middle age. Her disenchantment manifests itself in wanting Michael to close their current production early so that she can recharge her juices, something he is reluctant to do if only for not wanting to let the theater sit empty. What Julia ends up doing instead is embarking on an affair with Tom Fennel, an adoring young American who is young enough to be her son. As Julia and Tom's relationship progresses, the more she falls in love with him and ...Written by
Michael hands Julia a beer bottle that he opened by twisting off the cap; this innovation wasn't introduced until the mid-1960s. See more »
Your only reality is the theater. Anything else, what civilians call the real world, is nothing but fantasy and I bloody well won't let you forget it.
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Once again, Annette Bening is deep in the hunt for a Best Actress Oscar and once again she may fall short. Bening is front and center for the entirety of the film - and it's a big show-stopping diva actress performance that will conjure up comparison to the likes of Bette Davis (All About Eve), Diane Weist (Bullets Over Broadway), and Gloria Swanson (Sunset Blvd.). Bening's performance flat-out dominates the film and she's constantly emoting. But, save for perhaps the grand last stage scene, Bening's best moments are her quieter ones.
As stellar as Annette is, she can not salvage Being Julia in total. While there are a few great quips here and there, this is not one of Ron Harwood's better adaptations. The screenplay seemed to lack cohesion at times which made this short film drag and weakened the impact of the ending. The rest of the cast ranged from great (Irons, Gambon) to unfortunate victims of the script (Greenwood).
See this film if for nothing more than Bening. If she sweeps you up, the you may be able to forgive the weaker moments of Being Julia. Perhaps Academy Award voters will forgive them too and send Mrs. Beatty home with a little golden man in February.
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