A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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).
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.