Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Being Julia, Wanting Better

I wanted to like Being Julia. I hoped to catch it in the theater, and that never happened. Instead I rented it to watch at home. Sometimes things work out the way they should.

Annette Bening's performance is lovely to watch -- so good that it was a shame it came in the same year as Hillary Swank's equally good performance in a much better movie. Unfortunately, her performance is the only memorable thing about a pretentious, forgettable little film.

It's a film for "thinking people," a film with a great role for a fine over-40 actress in it. I liked that bit. I just wish that I had cared about anyone in it. Bening's Julia is fun to watch, but I never felt concern for her, and I felt none at all for any of her associates. I felt a twinge of concern for one character, but she was portrayed in such a way that I couldn't even manage that.

I'm hungry for stories about women in the second half of their lives, women who are strong and clever and talented and wonderful -- but I have no appetite for cat fights, and that's what I saw at the end of this film. Worse yet, it wasn't even a fair fight, more of a mauling.

Thumb's down on this one. I hope that Ms. Bening gets the part that her great gifts deserve; I don't think Julia was it.


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