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Being Julia (2004)

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2:11 | Trailer
Set in '30s London, the film involves stage actors and their experiences with love and revenge.

Director:

István Szabó

Writers:

W. Somerset Maugham (novel), Ronald Harwood (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Gambon ... Jimmie Langton
Annette Bening ... Julia Lambert
Leigh Lawson ... Archie Dexter
Shaun Evans ... Tom Fennel
Mari Kiss Mari Kiss ... Mr. Gosselyn's Secretary
Jeremy Irons ... Michael Gosselyn
Ronald Markham Ronald Markham ... Butler
Terry Sach Terry Sach ... Chauffeur
Catherine Charlton ... Miss Philips
Juliet Stevenson ... Evie
Miriam Margolyes ... Dolly de Vries
Max Irons ... Curtain Call Boy
Andrew Paton Story Busher Andrew Paton Story Busher ... Male Singer
George Lang George Lang ... Antoine the Maitre D
Michael Culkin ... Rupert
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Passion. Obsession. Revenge. Prepare for the performance of a lifetime.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA | Hungary | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 February 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adorable Julia See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$122,214, 17 October 2004

Gross USA:

$7,739,049

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,339,171
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Max Irons. See more »

Goofs

When Julia visits Tom's flat the first time, he stands back to let her go up the stairs first. When we see them climbing the stairs, he is now in front, and again stops and lets her go in front of him to enter the flat. See more »

Quotes

Julia Lambert: [to Evie] If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, stop thinking!
See more »

Connections

Featured in 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

She's My Lovely
Written by Vivian Ellis
(c) Chappell & Co. on behalf of Chappell & Co. Music Ltd.
Performed by Lew Stone and His Band (as Lew Stone & His Band)
Courtesy of The Decca Music Group Ltd.
Licensed by kind permission from The Universal Film & TV Licensing Division
See more »

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User Reviews

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
31 October 2004 | by livewire-6See all my reviews

I am not a fan of Annette Benning by any stretch of the imagination. I thought she was far too old to play the schoolgirlish ingenue in "An American President", and found her lacking in warmth and charisma as the love interest in "Open Range". I thought she was okay for what she had to do in "Dick Tracy", and honestly can't remember her performance in "American Beauty".

In "Being Julia", however, Benning's performance thoroughly does justice to her larger-than-life character. Benning plays 1930s stage actress Julia Lambert. Julia is by turns melodramatic, egocentric, overbearing and overwrought. She roars into our consciousness from her first scene to her final curtain.

Benning is surrounded by a fine cast of actors and actresses who act as perfect foils for her. Jeremy Irons, especially, is subtle and subdued as her manager husband, Michael Gosselyn. Juliet Stevenson is a sly confederate as Julia's dresser Evie. Miriam Margolyes is a hoot as theatre owner Dolly. Shaun Evans is a feast for the eyes as Tom Fennell, the young cad who breaks Julia's heart. Michael Gambon rounds out the cast as Jimmy Langton, a ghostly mentor to the very much alive and lively Julia.

Julia is not exactly what you would call an admirable human being. She is self-centered, bitchy, catty and vengeful. But, as the Italians say, "revenge is a dish best eaten cold". The film keeps us in suspense as we nervously wait for the other shoe to drop, for Julia to execute her carefully plotted revenge. When she springs her trap, we may shake our heads disapprovingly, but we cannot suppress a hearty laugh.

By its very nature, "Being Julia" is a film that will not appeal to a young demographic. You have to be a certain age to appreciate Julia's predicament of growing old and feeling that life and love have passed her by. Benning bravely allows director Istvan Szabo to film her in merciless and unforgiving closeup, to capture the lines etched in her brow, around her mouth and at her neckline. But the film leaves us with a sense of hope that, like Julia, we may all age like fine wine -- or like the beer whose creamy foam Julia relishes like her life itself: without the slightest trace of sadness or regret.


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