Miss Julia's lipstick and coppery eye-shadow alternate from very faint to very apparent to very faint again during the long conversation in the kitchen. See more »
Little Miss Julie:
She had received a most beautiful doll as a present. Oh, what a glorious doll, so fair and delicate. She did not seem created for the sorrows of this world.
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Liv Ullman gets just about everything wrong in her slow, heavy, inert adaptation of "Miss Julie." The play needs white hot intensity; she kills its momentum with portentous silences. It needs the claustrophobia of its kitchen setting; she dissipates this by "opening it up" as you're supposedly required to do when filming plays, taking it down corridors and outdoors. It needs an atmosphere of raucous midsummer revelry right outside the windows, with the revelers at one point invading the kitchen; she lets us hear them, briefly, but otherwise the three characters seem to be the last people on earth. Instead of merry folk dancing, which provides an ironic counterpoint in the original, we get a string trio playing tasteful Schubert adagios. Jessica Chastain is well cast and, when allowed to come to life, very good, as is Samantha Morton, but Colin Farrell is misdirected; his Jean ("John" in this version) lacks the charm and sardonic humor that would make the character compelling. For no good reason the play is relocated to Ireland, a setting Ullmann makes no use of. (I guess it's to justify the actors' brogues.) Strindberg sets a clock going right from the start, so that the proceedings carry tremendous urgency; Ullman drains all the tension out of it so it plods drearily. The worst thing you can do in adapting any work is drape it in the deadening mantle of a "classic." There's nice decor, costumes and cinematography to gaze at, but don't let this be your introduction to Strindberg's electrifying play.
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