Being Julia (2004)
Director: István Szabó
Writers: W. Somerset Maugham (novel) Ronald Harwood (screenplay)
Things I liked: Michael Gambon as a ghost/Julia’s conscience. I also really enjoyed Julia’s assistant (Juliet Stevenson). The two of them made the movie for me. At some point when I wasn’t paying attention I started sympathizing with Julia more than I had before; when Avice auditioned I wanted her to be dreadful because I didn’t want her to be a worthy rival any more than Julia did. The scene where Roger tells his mother how artificial he thinks she is was one of the most moving scenes of the film. My favorite part of the scene where Julia upstages Avice was the little smile Roger gave when he realized exactly what his mother was doing. This real enough for you, kid?
Things I didn’t like: It’s always problematic when you have stage acting scenes in a film because it’s hard to distinguish the “on stage” acting with the acting that the actors are doing in the movie. Also, of course, acting styles change. So having acknowledged that, I’m going to say that based on the scenes of Julia acting, it’s hard to believe that she’s the successful actress she is. Not that Avice seemed much better. Shaun Evans’s American accent is very inconsistent. Not Cary Elwes bad, but close.
Over all thoughts: I was really kinda meh about the whole thing. It wasn’t a bad movie, I just didn’t care for it that much. I don’t feel like watching it was a waste of my time, but I don’t feel the inclination to watch it again.
Rating: Two and a half jars of peanut butter