A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has very explicit sexual references and situations, including adultery and a discussion of a disappointing first sexual encounter. Characters drink, smoke, and use strong language. A strength of the movie is its sympathetic portrayal of a gay character.
What's the story?
Julia (Annette Bening) is a star who thrills the paying customers in the theater night after night, but that is not enough for her anymore. Her manager husband, Michael (Jeremy Irons), is more interested in the box office than his wife or her performances. She needs an audience so badly she conjures up a very real memory of her late acting mentor (Michael Gambon). The closest Julia comes to being truly herself is with her sympathetic dresser, Evie (Julia Stevenson). Julia needs something more, but she's not sure what. She begins an affair with a young American named Tom (Shaun Evans) and feels re-energized, reborn. She begins to think she is in love with him, and makes the mistake of giving him money. As a friend advises her, the story of a middle-aged woman in love with a younger man is played as a farce. But then Tom makes a mistake of his own, and Julia shows everyone that when it comes to audiences, she can still put on a better show than anyone.
Is it any good?
Bening has a laugh like a musical instrument and she plays it like a virtuoso; she is positively incandescent, with all of the pure star quality of the character she's playing and then some. Her curls bounce, her eyes sparkle, and her voice is like bells rung by angels. This is a sensational performance. The rest of BEING JULIA doesn't match it, but then there are not many that could.
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