Miss Julie

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Miss Julie Movie Poster Image
Strong performances, but play adaptation is too talky.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 129 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

People don't need to be relegated to a certain station in life just because of their parents' status, even in 1880s Ireland. The daughter of a nobleman can be attracted to a servant who's well-traveled and well-read, even if such a pairing might be scandalous to others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Miss Julie is selfish and spoiled; as the daughter of a nobleman, she's accustomed to bossing people around. John, a servant, is more cultured and refined than some of he's peers, but he's still someone Julie will order about as she sees fit.

Violence

Several intense arguments, with people screaming at each other, sometimes with very personal, cutting remarks. At one point, a woman starts to slap and hit a man; he responds by grabbing her arms. One surprisingly bloody scene.

Sex

A man and a woman flirt throughout the film. She approaches him, and he retreats; then he makes a move toward her, and she backs off. Undercurrent of thwarted desire in many scenes. The pair eventually embrace and start to kiss; it's suggested that more has taken place off-screen. There's a complicated power dynamic at play because she's nobility and he's a servant; her demands often cross the line.

Language

"Damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several scenes involve drinking wine or ale. One character eventually gets quite tipsy, even after she's been warned that she should probably stop drinking, and she's soon saying some pretty harsh truths (which might have remained unsaid had she been sober).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Miss Julie is an adaptation of a play by August Strindberg; as with many play-based movies, there's far more talk than action. The title character (Jessica Chastain) is the spoiled daughter of a nobleman in 1880s Ireland who's become infatuated with a cultured servant (Colin Farrell). She orders him around while flirting and making plenty of suggestive demands, but they know that any kind of relationship is doomed. This period piece has little swearing or actual sex (just lots of sexual tension and an undercurrent of thwarted desire), but the wine flows freely, and there are some intense arguments.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byE S. October 9, 2017

Do not let your teen watch this movie

This movie is disturbing on so many levels. I am shocked that common sense says it’s ok for 14 year olds. The entire movie is built around their lust for each o... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Over the course of a long midsummer's eve night in 1880s Ireland, MISS JULIE (Jessica Chastain) and John (Colin Farrell) flirt shamelessly, clearly attracted to each other, drawing ever closer. But it cannot be -- she's the baron's daughter, he's a servant in their household, and their interactions are all flavored by their unequal power dynamic. As they bristle under the strict class structure of their era, the hint of illicit interaction has already led to gossip in the village. Julie and John come up with a plot to run away together, but it's not clear whether either of them has the nerve to go through with it.

Is it any good?

The ferocity of Chastain's performance lifts Miss Julie somewhat -- as do, to a slightly lesser extent, the turns by Farrell and co-star Samantha Morton. But let's be honest: There's only so much an actor can do. Bound by a script and staging that give the movie a certain claustrophobia that stands up much better on stage than in celluloid, this overwrought drama doesn't quite take flight.

Despite its intimate setup -- there are only three characters -- it feels removed, with the feelings unfolding in every frame unable to mask a certain lack of groundedness. Watch it for the acting, but be prepared for your mind to wander. An August Strindberg play -- the original source material -- deserves more than this.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Miss Julie and John. Did their relationship have any chance, considering that her father's a nobleman and he's a servant? What does the movie have to say about social class?

  • Does this feel like a play or a movie? Can you tell that it's based on a stage play?

Movie details

For kids who love drama

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