Miss Julie: Film Review

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So many films have been released in the U.K. this week and if you can afford to miss one of them, then pick Miss Julie because not much happens, it is very slow-moving and I struggled to concentrate on it.

Jessica Chastain stars as Miss Julie, the daughter of a wealthy baron who craves attention and love and tries to seduce her father’s valet John (Colin Farrell), even though he is engaged to the maid Kathleen (Samantha Morton).

That is essentially all there is to it. This is ALL about character and what they want and this shifts a lot through the movie. Julie seems mentally unstable – she sees no point in living and is desperate to love and be loved but does she really love John or is it just a trick? And when John confesses his love for her, is he being honest or lying to get her into bed and steal her power?

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This is really all about the power and class struggle between the two. When this conflict really gets going after a night of passion, the film ramps up and becomes interesting. Seeing Farrell switch from being subservient to a total bastard was riveting. However, the start and end sandwiching that meaty section together is too slow and boring for the whole film to be pleasing. It is two hours long and it could have done with some cuts.

This is all about Chastain’s performance. She is incredible as Miss Julie, who is strong and mean one moment, timid and childlike the next, and she plays that range of emotion perfectly. I did occasionally find her acting to be over-the-top when Julie passionately cries, for example, and I wasn’t 100% sold on her English accent. Morton stood out for me too – she doesn’t have a lot to do, but when she gets opportunity to shine, I was blown away.

So if you up for something driven by character and dialogue, then by all means go for this but you need your concentration cap on.

In cinemas now 

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