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Being Julia

 (80)
7.01 h 44 min200512
Based on W. Somserset Maugham's novel Theatre the film is a delicious tale of amorous folly and revenge set in the world of the London stage during the late 1930s. Julia Lambert is a celebrated and glamorous actress, famous throughout England and happily married for years to her agent, Michael. But underneath the artifice, she is being tortured by her fading looks, her philandering husband, and..
Directors
Istvan Szabo
Starring
Annette BeningJeremy IronsBruce Greenwood
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio Languages
English
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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More details

Supporting actors
Leigh LawsonMiriam MargolyesJuliet StevensonMaury ChaykinSheila McCarthyMichael Gambon
Producers
Robert Lantos
Studio
Sony Pictures Classics
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Other formats

Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

80 global ratings

  1. 61% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 20% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 13% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Mr. Alex TaylorReviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 May 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Play's The Thing
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This is simply one of my favourite movies: it's faultless. The script is skilfully adapted from the Somerset Maugham novella Theatre, and is beautifully realised by the director and by a phenomenal cast. Annette Bening in the title role gives the performance of a lifetime - it's completely bravura yet has subtlety, detail and great emotional depth - and the whole cast is extraordinarily good: every role is nuanced and perfectly in period.
One of the reasons I like this film is for the play-within-the-play scenes which capture a sense of what stage acting may have been like in the period as well as letting us know what it was like to be the kind of theatre star Julia is. These scenes also beg the question, which is threaded throughout the film, what is acting - what is true and what is false?
It's a film that makes me laugh out loud - a very stylish, witty comedy - but it is also played with depth and there are some truly moving moments in the intimate relationships between husband and wife, woman and lover, woman and best friend, mother and son.
I expect this film is not everyone's cup of tea, but if you like acting of a high calibre and you like period pieces, this film will not disappoint.
One person found this helpful
MancuimumReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 March 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Set in the 1930's an ageing theatre actress Julia played by Annette Bening is bored with the plays her husband and manager Michael (Jeremy ...
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Big Jeremy Irons fan so I bought this on a whim. Set in the 1930's an ageing theatre actress Julia played by Annette Bening is bored with the plays her husband and manager Michael (Jeremy Irons) is casting her in, in an effort to keep their theatre afloat. Sean Evans (Endeavor) plays Tom, he applies for a job as an accountant for the theatre and soon gets more than he bargined for. Also starring Michael Gambon as the ghost of a theatre director that gave both Julia and Michael their breaks. With the fab Miriam Margolyes and Juliet Stevenson and a blink and you'll miss him cameo by Max Irons (Jeremy Irons youngest son) as the curtain call boy. Great film seriously well acted with lots of familiar faces and very funny.
One person found this helpful
SerendipityReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 July 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
I love the story
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I love the story. I loved this film and what is more, I loved every minute of it. I am happy I bought the DVD despite multiple negative reviews, and now really wonder if these people try do destroy the career of the most beautiful and brilliant actress in the leading role? Anyway, they deprive themselves of the pure joy of following again and again Maugham's genius in the exquisite interpretation with magnificent images of London and glimpses at the lively existence of London bohème. That is a very rare treat, as far as I know, so to reject it would simply add a touch of autism to such a silly personal view...
DeliaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 June 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
I loved it. The costumes
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Took this to Jersey with me on holidays and watched it there - there is one scene set in Jersey. I loved it. The costumes, the great acting and the story-line was delightful for an evening's entertainment with a couple of glasses of wine in our apartment in St.Hellier
DarrenReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 March 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Julia, darling!
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This movie is silly, camp, and hilariously quotable. Not at all a great movie, but certainly a beloved one. Excellent cast too. A favourite to watch with friends!
Graham WilliamsonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 13 May 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
BEING JULIA
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Wonderful Annette Bening film where she almost but not quite acts everybody else off of the screen, ably accompanied by a brilliant supporting cast.
David FirthReviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 April 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars
Being Julia, Being Brilliant
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Annette Bening really does light up the screen in 'Being Julia', which is about stage actress Julia Lambert and is set in 1938 London, in the glamourous yet somewhat pretentious world of the West End. Directed by Istvan Szabo, screenplay by Ronald Harwood (Academy Award winner for 'The Pianist'), the film is based on Sommerset Maugham's novel 'Theatre'.
Bening, who was nominated Best Actress for the Katherin Hepburn-like role, is joined by a brilliant supporting cast; very British, very good; we have Jeremy Irons playing Julia's husband, Michael Gambon as her former coach, Juliet Stevenson as her aide, Miriam Margolyes as the pushy co-owner of the theatre, and Julia's stage rival played by Lucy Punch, who you might recognise as Elaine from the Martin Clunes ITV comedy 'Doc Martin'.
The film starts with Julia Lambert bored with her current play and longing for excitement and change. Enter Tom Fennell, a young American who claims he is Julia's greatest fan. Finding his cute-boy appeal irresistible, she decides that romance is the best antidote to a mid-life crisis and embarks on a passionate affair. Her life becomes more daring and exciting and you watch as her on stage performances match the intensity of her affair. Until, that is, he falls in love with up-and-coming actress Avice Crichton, who is twenty years younger then Julia and who is to star alongside her in her new play. Critics are hailing in Avice Crichton as the "new Julia Lambert" but on opening night, Julia reveals that she is a more formidable actress than anyone ever imagined.
Ok, so it's true, Bening does steal the show (and she is gorgeous and hilarious while doing it) but the supporting cast is well-developed, particularly the characters of Julia's husband (Irons), who plays a strong part adding depth to the film, Julia's aide Evie (Stevenson), who gives a witty yet warm look at the relationship between mistress and servant, and Julia's stage rival Avice Crichton (Punch) who adds comedic value - giving quite a strong performance in the shadow of such stars. However, as you have probably noticed from my review, this film is very much focused on Julia and therefore if you don't like flamboyance, pomp and melodrama, this film probably isn't for you.
To sum up, 'Being Julia' isn't just a story about an actress on the stage, it's a story about an actress off the stage and in that sense it is very human; as we are shown the whirlwind world of behind the stage curtain, with the film posing the question, is everything in life acting; is life one big theatre? Watch 'Being Julia' and see for yourself!
11 people found this helpful
MenarueReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 July 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A wonderful film with an amazing performance by Annette Bening
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A wonderful film with an amazing performance by Annette Bening. I have watched this a few times and ever time it makes me laugh.
One person found this helpful
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