Being Julia

Rated 2.0 Lust leads to revenge in 1930s London as the professionally and maritally bored stage legend Julia Lambert (the excellent Annette Bening) tries to rejuvenate her life by having an affair with a much younger American named Tom (Shaun Evans). Julia’s husband and stage impresario (Jeremy Irons) lets the infidelity slide until it begins to affect her work, when Julia is relegated to a mere supporting role in Tom’s life. The lust half of the film unfurls like a plodding soap opera with farcical undertones. The revenge half is juicier and much more engaging, as Julia sets the stage for and then delivers the finest, most surprising performance of her life. Adapted from W. Somerset Maugham’s novella Theatre by Ronald Harwood (The Pianist) and directed by István Szabó (Mephisto).