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Being Julia

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Product Details

  • Actors: Annette Bening, Michael Gambon, Maury Chaykin, Jeremy Irons, Leigh Lawson
  • Directors: István Szabó
  • Writers: Ronald Harwood, W. Somerset Maugham
  • Producers: Julia Rosenberg, Kevan Van Thompson, Marion Pilowsky, Mark Milln, Mark Musselman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007G89FK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,253 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Being Julia" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making of featurette
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Deleted scenes

Editorial Reviews

In the role that brought her amazing critical acclaim, an Academy Award(r) nomination, the Golden Globe(r) Award and the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress, Annette Bening plays a beautiful and beguiling actress who finds herself bored with her role as the toast of the town in BEING JULIA.Julia Lambert (Bening) is a true diva: beautiful, talented, wealthy and famous. She has it all -- including a devoted husband (Oscar(r) winner Jeremy Irons, 1990 Best Actor, Reversal of Fortune) who has masterminded her brilliant career - but after years of shining in the spotlight she begins to suffer from a severe case of boredom and longs for something new and exciting to put the twinkle back in her eye. Julia finds exactly what she's looking for in a handsome young American fan, but it isn'tlong before the novelty fling adds a few more sparks than she was hoping for. Fortunately for her, this surprise twist in the plot will thrust her back into the greatest role of her life -- BEING

Customer Reviews

The pacing of the film and unfolding of events are done masterfully.
Lee Armstrong
This film is a bit slow and overwrought at times but Bening can do anything so with that being said just watch it and see why she is such a great actress.
Annette Bening has one of her best roles as the aging stage star, Julia Lambert.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Westley VINE VOICE on June 18, 2005
Format: DVD
Annette Bening has one of her best roles as the aging stage star, Julia Lambert. Set in 1938 London, the film follows Julia's exploits as she attempts to find some meaning in her drama-filled life. Her relationship with her husband (Jeremy Irons) has always been "open," so she decides to have a fling with a young American (Shaun Evans, who is actually English). Unfortunately, what was meant to be a fun lark turns into something more serious, threatening to upset Julia's life completely, especially when the lovely young Avice Crichton (Judy Punch) enters the picture. However, Julia is far too strong to become a second-string player in her own life, leading to some delicious retribution.

"Being Julia" is a very enjoyable movie with some spark and playfulness not always seen in period films. Bening of course is quite stunning, and she brilliantly portrays her character's late-in-life personal growth. She deservedly won a slew of acting awards for the role, including a Golden Globe (Best Actress - Musical or Comedy), and was nominated for an Oscar. However, the entire cast is quite good, especially Miriam Margolyes and Juliet Stevenson. The screenplay by celebrated writer Ronald Harwood (Oscar winner for "The Pianist") is solid, managing to balance some very nice comic moments with straight drama. The script, incidentally, is based on W. Somerset Maugham's "Theatre" - I haven't read the book, but the movie was good enough that I want to read it soon.

I often enjoy movies that take a peak behind the scenes of the theater world, and "Being Julia" is a solid addition to the genre. Hungarian director Istvan Szabo has been in this territory before with the Glenn Close vehicle "Meeting Venus.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Hebbron on February 5, 2006
Format: DVD
This film plays homage to the lost age of British stage Divas and a time (1930's) when film acting was still viewed with snobbishness and the stage was a world of riotously overbearing performers. Benning is perfectly cast in the lead and is every inch the slighty unhinged stage Goddess. Speaking as a Brit I also have to say that her accent is utterly perfect, it surpasses Rene Zelweiger in her Bridget Jones role; of whom it has to be said, did brilliantly.

The film is very much the telling of a midlife crisis, coupled with the fear of fading stardom. The story takes place in the closing years of the 1930's, when European politics loomed large and cast an ugly shadow over British life. The story of Julia herself, is the life of a woman who has honed her craft of flambouyant acting so superbly, neither she, her social circle nor us as the audience is ever entirely sure of the boundry between real Julia and Julia the actress. Initially this pampered Madam is hilariously self-obsessed but learns to be more involved with her real world via a series of difficult events, her Son's coming of age and demands for honesty from his parents. An affair with an American fan who see's himself as Gigolo but is horrible out of his depth and the fight to remain No 1 in the face of competiton from a scheming young actress.

Julia discovers much about the difference between selfish longing and cherishing what you already have in real time.

Her journey leads to the ultimate performance in which she weaves all the strands of her personal struggle together along with settling a few scores and levelling some land. Benning is marvellous, givng a performance of sheer delight and carrying the film with ease, a chance she unfortunately gets all to rarely.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By jasoneducator on November 20, 2005
Format: DVD
With the Oscar buzz for Annette Benning and its focus on the theatre, I felt that this movie would end up being a deep drama. Instead, it was more of a farce and a clever exploration of how acting an alter one's personality.

Annette Benning's character, Julia, is an accomplished actress who wrestles with boredom while seeking to escape age and the potential diminishing of her powers. She needs her status as a grand actress even as she is bored by that status and wonders what will become of her should she lose her youth. Early in the movie, she throws a tantrum and demands that her husband end the run of "Farewell My Love" that she stars in. But a young American appears on the scene and she begins an affair seeking to capture her lost youth.

For me, the movie was hard to care about at first. Mostly, this was because I had a hard time rooting for any of the characters to succeed. Nobody seemed to be a postive presence. Julia? Didn't dig her, too entitled. The American? Quickly becomes transparent as a gold digger, and not a good one at that. Her husband? Emotionally unavailable and probably the cause of some of Julia's frustration. Plus, the movie uses Julia's old acting teacher as a quasi ghost who appears to her and comments on her real life performances. I found this device tiring at times.

But the movie takes off as you realize that Julia is aware that she is being duped. She does begin to have some degree of self-awareness. I do not wish to give away the ending, but I feel that ultimately, "Being Julia" succeeds because it raises very real questions about the nature of acting. Do we act when we put on a performance in our social lives? Are we really acting on stage when we draw upon true events from our real lives for inspiration?
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