Being Julia

  • Review Date: March 20, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Annette Bening is great, but this isn't for kids.
  • Review Date: March 20, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 104 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Not applicable

Explicit sexual references and situations, adultery.


Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A great deal of drinking and smoking.

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.

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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 is 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what Julia was looking for. What mattered most to her? Did she get it? They might also want to talk about the conversation between Julia and her son about his first sexual encounter.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 15, 2004
DVD release date:March 22, 2005
Cast:Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon
Director:Istvan Szabo
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some sexuality

This review of Being Julia was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bythe 93rd kid April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Not for kids & most adults

Great flick, Annette is stunning and wonderful, Irons is Irons. But not a kid flick, nor a teenager flick, nor a chick flick. This is serious stuff for adults with taste and a keen sense of irony.
Teen, 14 years old Written bymiranda1993 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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