Being Julia

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Being Julia
Review (7/10)
(By Liam Cullin)

The opening film for the 2004 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival was Sony Pictures Classics' BEING JULIA. The movie stars Annette Bening as Julia Lambert, an aging stage actress in 1930s London. She's miserable - but is rejuvenated when she starts a love affair with Tom, a much younger American played by Shaun Evans. Things head south and she soon finds out that Tom has his own agenda (he's a social climber with eyes for a younger actress), and she sets out to ridicule him, his lover and her husband (Jeremy Irons), who's also shagging the up-and-comer who, it turns out, has an agenda of her own.

This movie is billed as a comedy. Not an "American Pie" comedy, but more a mature comedy. And it works. It's funny throughout, with moments of poingancy. Bening's crying does become a bit much - but they acknowledge this in the movie. She's an actress who can turn the tears on and off like a faucet. (Although in my own personal experience, this is a talent most women have.)

More about Bening. I didn't really buy her as being British. The accent was fine, as was her acting. I just couldn't help but ask myself why they didn't get an actual British actress. It's not like there isn't enough of them?!

As for the rest of the cast. They deliver. Jeremy Irons was great. Shaun Evans made me want to punch him in the face - which is what I guess he was supposed to do. (At least I hope so.) Other noteables include Bruce Greenwood and Michael Gambon who both popped in every once in a while and provided some great moments.

So, my analysis? I've said many times that every movie has an audience. And this one is no exception. This one wasn't made for the kids, so it's not like I'm going to say "Rush out and see this movie!". Instead, it's made for an older audience who can appreciate it's wit and subtle nuances. And for that audience, check it out. It's good for a chuckle or two.

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