Mother Act
Being Julia
Review by Ross Anthony

Annette Benning is gorgeous and a damned-good actress to boot. She deserved an Oscar for her performance in "American Beauty," and perhaps this film is her attempt to garnish one. (Both the screenwriter and director are Academy Award winners.) However, while her performance here is certainly good, she was perfect in "American Beauty."

But enough about Benning and the Academy, "Being Julia" is the story of an aging (relative to the theatric world) actress fretting over the future of her acting career. Unbeknownst to her, she is on the cusp of catharsis. A young lover becomes the catalyst. Shaun Evans plays Tom (T-O-M) with great flair and facial expression.

Detached from reality after having devoted herself entirely to the theatre, she seems also quite detached from her self as well. This serious issue of self swims in the undercurrent of an otherwise somewhat farcical British period piece. One powerful scene brings Julia's acting face -- face to face -- with her frank teenage son. "You're always acting mom, I don't even know who you are." But the seriousness struggles to keep up alongside the crisp humor and subtle absurdity, and a rather mean ending steals from the film a certain beauty it could have so easily set a blossom. Otherwise: cute, clever, well-paced, well acted and well directed.

  • Being Julia. Copyright © 2004.
  • Starring Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon.
  • Directed by Istvan Szabo.
  • Screenplay by Ronald Harwood.
  • Based on the novel "Theatre" by W. Somerset Maugham.
  • Produced by Robert Lantos, a Sony Pictures Classics release. (c) 2004.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:18:58 PDT