“Being Julia,” based on W. Somerset Maugham’s “Theatre” and adapted by Academy Award Winner Ronald Harwood (“The Pianist”), is an intoxicating combination of wicked comedy and smart drama, starring Annette Bening as the beautiful and beguiling actress Julia Lambert. In London in 1938, Julia Lambert is at her peak, physically and professionally, but her successful theatrical career and her marriage to handsome impresario Michael Gosselyn (Jeremy Irons) have become stale and unfulfilling. She longs for novelty, excitement, sparks. Enter Tom Fennell (Shaun Evans), a younger man who claims to be Julia’s greatest fan. Finding his ardor irresistible, she decides that romance is the best antidote to a mid-life crisis and embarks on a passionate affair. Life becomes more daring and exciting, until Julia’s young lover callously tries to relegate her to a supporting role. But on opening night, Julia reveals that she is a more formidable actress than anyone ever imagined.
“Being Julia” misses the boat on several levels. It’s target audience seems to be intellectuals and yet the dialog is anything but stimulating. The story is transparent. The language is almost as bad as the actor’s accents. This film will likely not be released to a wide distribution circuit (it was listed locally as an Alternative Film) which tells you that even the movie studio didn’t think it would be well received by the general public. All that said, I imagine you will see several academy award nominations come out of this one, which just goes to show you that the Hollywood elite just don’t get it.