Being Julia


(out of 5)

Not since Cousin Bette has a woman’s revenge been this much fun. tears into the role of a famous London stage actress who is starting to lose the thrill of performing before a live audience night after night. Her vigor is restored when she meets a young American financier () and starts a passionate affair with him, only to have her vanity devastated when he takes up with a much younger woman ().  Have no fear, though, for fate delivers the young woman straight into the lion’s den by having her All About Eve her way into the same play as our protagonist, thus allowing Bening the opportunity to prove her superiority and get a little of her own back in the process. While doing so, she realizes that the time she has spent re-enacting life on the stage has made her forget what she liked about it in reality, leading her on a quest for personal self-discovery that will mark an important change in her personality. Even though it’s a trifling story, free of any dramatic intensity or even serious importance, it is thoroughly enjoyable and benefits from Istvan Szabo’s surprisingly light direction and Bening enjoying every minute that she’s on screen.  Full of stage monologues and personal soliloquies, not to mention crying and rage scenes, it would be the kind of the thing an actor would expect nothing but heaps of awards for, but Bening’s great skill finds the humanity in every aspect of this character who is gradually learning to go from superficial to superbly human.  lends excellent support as her modern-minded husband, and is a sophisticated pleasure as her best friend. Based on the novel Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham.

Canada/USA/Hungary/United Kingdom, 2004

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel Theatre by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  TIFF 2004

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Award Nomination
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Annette Bening as “Julia Lambert”)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical (Annette Bening)

New York Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Actress (Annette Bening)

National Board Of Review Award
Best Actress (Annette Bening)

Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Annette Bening)

European Film Award Nomination
Audience Award-Best European Director (Istvan Szabo)

European Film Award Nomination
Best European Cinematographer

Canadian Screen Award (Genie Award) Nominations
Best Motion Picture
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Bruce Greenwood)

Boston Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Actress (Annette Bening)

Goya Award Nomination
Best European Film




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