Friday, February 12, 2016

Julia (1977)

IMDb plot summary: At the behest of an old and dear friend, playwright Lillian Hellman undertakes a dangerous mission to smuggle funds into Nazi Germany.
Directed by Fred Zinnemann. Starring Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, and Maximilian Schell.

(Mild spoilers.)

This movie was nominated for and won a bunch of Oscars, and I must confess, I'm a little puzzled. Maybe 1977 was a slow year, because I thought this movie was pretty unimpressive. The title is misleading, making you think it's going to be largely about the friendship, but most of the movie is spent with Lillian working on her play or traveling and only occasionally mentioning Julia. Even in the second half of the movie, where it suddenly ventures into spy thriller territory, Julia herself seems to always be an afterthought. The relationship between the two women is barely explored. The epilogue voiceover attempts to tie everything together, but just makes it clear how scattered the movie actually is. On top of all this, I thought Jane Fonda as Lillian was surprisingly bad, with vocal inflections and movements that made her seem like a first-time actress hyper-aware of everyone watching her.

This should have been a much better movie than it was, and clearly the Academy thought it actually *was* that better movie, but I am not so convinced.

1.5 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Julia < Happythankyoumoreplease
Julia > The Interpreter
Julia < Mickey's Christmas Carol
Julia < Treasures of the Snow
Julia < JFK
Julia > The Enemy Below
Julia > Seasons of the Heart
Julia < Annie (2014)
Julia < Quigley Down Under
Julia > Larry Boy and the Rumor Weed
Julia < Rio Bravo
Final spot: #1762 out of 2429.

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