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Being Julia [DVD] [2004] [2009]

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Product details

  • Actors: Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Bruce Greenwood, Miriam Margoyles, Juliet Stevenson
  • Directors: István Szabó
  • Producers: Robert Lantos
  • Format: Subtitled, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Hindi
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Aug. 2009
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007LYDFU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,322 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

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


Annette Bening's outstanding performance is the best reason to see Being Julia, a highly melodramatic adaptation of the 1937 novel Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham. With a prestigious pedigree (director Istvan Szabo and screenwriter Ronald Harwood share impressive theatrical backgrounds) and a stellar cast including Jeremy Irons, Bruce Greenwood, and Juliet Stevenson, the film's backstage and onstage theatrics take place in pre-World War II London, when the venerable actress Julia (Bening) fends off middle-age by romancing a stage-struck young American (Shaun Evans) in a calculated attempt to retain some youthful vitality while airing her own dirty laundry onstage in a glorious act of divine diva behavior. Treating life and theater as one big play in which she's the perpetual star, Julia's nothing if not a master thespian, and Bening's got all the chops to keep her in the spotlight. If the film isn't quite worthy of Bening's excellence, at least it gives her performance the showcase it deserves. -- Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By C. Skelton on 4 Oct. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't usually like "Period Drama" but this is a bit of a gem, mainley due to a superb cast topped by the brillient Annette Benning with her perfect English accent.
This is a film with everything; drama, comedy, sadness, sex, love and a clever twist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Jan. 2006
Format: DVD
"Being Julia" is one of those old-fashioned "theatre" movies that they simply don't make any more (but fortunately for us, they did!). Based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham, the film is set in London of the 1930s just after Prime Minister Chamberlain had declared that there would be "peace in our time."
This entire delicious concoction is under the brilliant direction of Istvan Szabo. The production, however, would not have been so magnificently authentic without the design of Lucianna Arrighi (who deservedly won an Academy Award for "Howard's End", and also designed "Remains of the Day" and "Anna and the King"). Arrighi has created the atmosphere of the thirties down to the last art deco knife and fork. Arrighi's sets sweep us back to that elegant era before the world lost its innocence.
Julia, so beautifully acted by Annette Bening, is a pampered, self-absorbed leading lady of the West-End Stage. Bored with her own success as well as her less-than-successful marriage to her impresario-husband (the always-suave Jeremy Irons), she is drawn into an affair with a brash, young and unscrupulous American, just graduated from Yale, and in London in order to move upwards as fast as possible. Naturally he moves as fast as possible, not upwards, but onwards to a younger woman, who, also upwardly mobile, dumps him in order to share both Julia's stage and her husband. However, with the moral support of her sardonic dresser (a delightfully funny Juliet Stevenson), who knows all of Julia's real life lines so well that she mouths them behind her back, and her literally spiritual mentor (Michael Gambon), Julia accomplishes her revenge on the lot of them: her faithless lover, her philandering husband, and their would-be "Eve Harrington" ingenue.
"Being Julia" is essentially a play of revenge. And the revenge is sooohh delicious.
Pure chocolate mousse!!!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By F. Sweet on 21 Feb. 2005
Format: DVD
Istvan Szabo's "Being Julia," is based on Sommerset Maugham's wickedly funny 1937 novel "Theatre" as adapted by Ronald Harwood who had also done "The Pianist." The story is a funny, sexy, worldly-wise presentation of London's 1938 art deco-era theater scene.
Similar to Szabo's "Mephisto" (1981), "Being Julia" is in love with actors and their profession. To this film's considerable advantage, the cast is absolutely first-rate.
As the movie opens, Julia Lambert (played to the hilt by a stunnningly beautiful Annette Bening), is a legendary stage actress with the heart of a carefree girl and a spring steel spine. She's the toast of the West End theater world and still playing 29-year-old femmes fatale. She is enjoying her latest triumph and is about to have lunch with her hared boiled manager and husband, the exceedingly vain ex-actor Michael Gosselyn (Jeremy Irons).
Incidentally, "Being Julia" is only Annette Bening's 17th film. Indeed, she's only been on the acting scene since 1990. Bening has the grace and magnetism of a legend, a genuine sophistication and star quality that make her watchable in anything.
Back to the story. Abruptly, a third party is added - a young, American accountant Tom Fennel (Shaun Evans). Tom worships Julia and the London theater and, in later scenes in which Bening's Julia cannot stop laughing, seduces the all-too-willing older woman.
In Julia's life offstage, she's always "on," always ready to greet her public, keen to be talked about in the newspapers and gossiped about on the street. Her marriage to Michael is very off-beat. He's either oblivious or apathetic to Julia's affairs. But he's both her biggest fan and harshest critic. When Julia wails in a moment of self-pity: "I'm a bitch!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David R. Bishop VINE VOICE on 11 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD
For generations American actresses strugled with English accents. Even Bette Davis and Kathrine Hepburn with their New England upbringings struggled at it. Meryl Streep did the first good one with 'The French Lieutenants Woman' in 1981. Renee Zellweger moved the art along with the 'Bridget Jones' movies, then Topeka born Annette Bening did this flawless star turn.

Aside from her great accent, her great performance as a forty something London theatre actress, who gets hurt and plans and executes a cunning revenge, is well worthy of her Oscar nomination. The movie is set between the two world wars, and based on a Somerset Maugham novel.

The supporting cast is great too, including Jeremy Irons who plays her husband, Miriam Margolyes (a bonus in any movie), and Michael Gambon who plays the spirit or memory of an inspirational drama coach. He appears to encourage her whenever her spirits are failing.

This movie was not a huge success, sometimes the good ones are not, but I rate it highly. It is well worth the next to nothing it costs thru Marketplace.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Firth on 11 April 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Annette Bening really does light up the screen in 'Being Julia', which is about stage actress Julia Lambert and is set in 1938 London, in the glamourous yet somewhat pretentious world of the West End. Directed by Istvan Szabo, screenplay by Ronald Harwood (Academy Award winner for 'The Pianist'), the film is based on Sommerset Maugham's novel 'Theatre'.
Bening, who was nominated Best Actress for the Katherin Hepburn-like role, is joined by a brilliant supporting cast; very British, very good; we have Jeremy Irons playing Julia's husband, Michael Gambon as her former coach, Juliet Stevenson as her aide, Miriam Margolyes as the pushy co-owner of the theatre, and Julia's stage rival played by Lucy Punch, who you might recognise as Elaine from the Martin Clunes ITV comedy 'Doc Martin'.
The film starts with Julia Lambert bored with her current play and longing for excitement and change. Enter Tom Fennell, a young American who claims he is Julia's greatest fan. Finding his cute-boy appeal irresistible, she decides that romance is the best antidote to a mid-life crisis and embarks on a passionate affair. Her life becomes more daring and exciting and you watch as her on stage performances match the intensity of her affair. Until, that is, he falls in love with up-and-coming actress Avice Crichton, who is twenty years younger then Julia and who is to star alongside her in her new play. Critics are hailing in Avice Crichton as the "new Julia Lambert" but on opening night, Julia reveals that she is a more formidable actress than anyone ever imagined.
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