L. PowerHALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on March 20 2012
I have never really gone to see a movie because Tilda Swinton was in it. She just happened to be in movies I went to see, and her performances were always excellent, and that is why when I saw this movie in the store I decided to get it on the strength of what she did previously.
I am glad I did because if there is any movie to see because Tilda Swinton is in it, Julia is it.
Even though this movie was never destined to be big, her performance is a wonder to behold.
The realistic portrayal of a lost alcoholic, who cannot tell the truth about anything starts out ordinary but turns into something compelling, as a woman she meets in AA convinces her to kidnap her son. As the story unfolds and takes its dramatic twists and turns, we follow along incredulous and unbelieving at her impulsive behavior, and how everything just gets worse and worse. To tell you more might spoil your enjoyment, but suffice to say you will wonder how it's going to end until the end. I think this was one of the best female perfomances I have seen in the last year.
I appreciated how much she immersed herself in this character, casting vanity to the four winds. There is a particular scene where she breaks the Hollywood leading actress convention of not fully exposing herself, as she lies in the bed in a house in Mexico and her 7 year old victim is looking at her with wonder and fascination, and we wonder what he is going to do next. What does happen next is another surprising plot twist.
So, this movie does seem a little long, and the early part drags, but once it gets going it is great.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Tilda Is Terrific!Aug. 23 2009
Michael B. Druxman
- Published on Amazon.com
If Tilda Swinton does not get an Oscar nomination for JULIA, there is no justice, because she delivers one of the most remarkable performances that I've ever seen. She is, indeed, one of the finest actresses of her generation.
Swinton plays an out-of-control alcoholic, subject to blackouts, who lies constantly. Nothing that ever comes out of her mouth is the truth.
Desperately needing money, she devises a not-to-well-thought-out plot to kidnap the 8-year-old grandson of an ultra wealthy gent whose estranged, emotionally disturbed mother she met at an AA gathering.
Swinton has no intention of turning the kid over to his mother, but plans to ransom him to the grandfather for two million dollars. Unfortunately for her, Grandpa soon learns her identity and she is forced to flee to Mexico with the boy, who is soon taken from her by some professional kidnappers. Now, Swinton, who has actually become fond of the child, will do everything in her power to get him back.
Erick Zonca directed this riveting thriller, released onto DVD by Magnolia Home Entertainment.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Wow.Aug. 22 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
Tilda Swinton easily carries "Julia," with a tour-de-force performance as an out of control alcoholic that gets way, way in over her head when she agrees to get involved in a hair-brained kidnapping scheme, one that goes very badly awry. For charting the lead character's mad trajectory, the director, Erick Zonka, received a well deserved nomination for a best director, at Berlin and Swinton was nominated for the best actress Caesar, for her performance in this film. Inspired by Cassevette's "Gloria," and definitely worth your time.
60 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Tilda Swinton's career best -so farAug. 3 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
Wow. This is a dazzling performance in an unusual, disturbing and unforgettable film. I was fortunate to see this at a brief theatrical run in San Francisco. I haven't seen the disc but I'll update this review when I do. Usually, I get the feeling that Ms. Swinton says "I'll do anything!" but that the people who make her films think she'll do EVERYTHING and show up without the ideas, structure or stamina to support her wild excursions into darkness and beyond. This film gives her a meaty role in a difficult story and gives it room to grow. The film is kind of a long shaggy dog story, rather like John Cassavetes directing a Sam Peckinpah film. This JULIA is a nasty, promiscuous, unemployable black out alcoholic who ends up talked into a kidnapping scheme by the crazy unfit mother who lives in her building. If you think this might be your sort of film, be aware- she doesn't become a saint- or even much nicer- over the playing time. When most American films would be wrapping up, JULIA explodes into a new location, country, style and multiplies in ferocity and violence. Instead of softening into redemption, our heroine meets characters even nastier than she is and is forced to up the stakes. This is the best female performance I've seen since Mimi Rogers in THE RAPTURE. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I can't wait to see it again.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
El Fin de Semana PerdidoOct. 24 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
That's "The Lost Weekend" to gringos, and what a weekend (give or take) it is! Tilda Swinton is a force of nature in this 'Cassavetes-inspired' gritty road drama about an incorrigible alcoholic who kidnaps an acquaintance's child and goes on the lam to Mexico, intending to extort a huge ransom out of the boy's wealthy industrialist grandfather. Swinton is uncomfortably brilliant as Julia, an out-of-control addict who will lie, cheat, steal and sleep with anyone she has to to get a fix or get cash, since her addiction has left her too erratic to hold on to a job. Swinton is by turns shocking, repulsive, heartbreaking and winsome in her portrayal of a lost woman whose life came unravelled at the seams years ago, and all she's capable of truly caring about now is where she's going to score her next drink. Swinton has a face that is fluidly changeable before the camera, so that she can appear as a wrecked angel one moment and a raging demon the next. Here she's so good at playing a trashy, low-class addict, one marvels that this is the same actress who gave us the icily regal Winter Witch in "Chronicles of Narnia" or the polished high-octane career women of "Adaptation" or "Michael Clayton". Like Cate Blanchett, Swinton possesses striking, unconventional looks and coloring that she harnesses to create a breathtaking range of characters. My admiration for her is boundless. I can't, however, rate the movie she's in as highly as I do her performance--this is a meandering mess of a movie that reflects the meandering mess that is Julia's life and psyche, but it would have benefitted greatly from a tighter script and more self-disciplined editing decisions. 2-and-half hours is self-indulgently long on the part of director Erik Zonca; turns out that it's just too long to watch a little boy get traumatized at the hands of an unstable, self-serving drunk and a bunch of Mexican mercenaries. I understand what drew actor's actor Swinton to this character, but the story does not engage the viewer as much as it did those who made it, evidently. I muscled all the way to the end, hoping for some glimmers of recognizable humanity or redemption in our antiheroine, and they were not forthcoming. Honestly one of the more interminable film viewing experiences of my life that seemed as if it would never end. In my experience, good movies fly by quickly and leave the viewer wanting more. This bloated, low-budget descent into madness with a loco lady in the driver's seat left me completely dispossesed. Tilda Swinton is a fantastic actress; unfortunately this project is too low-rent to garner her the acting accolades she deserves for it. She's top-drawer, but I can only muster a lukewarm rating for a project that in the end feels exploitative of both its actors and its audience. Worth a rental if you are a Swinton fan; if you are looking to purchase a DVD showcasing her range, however, check out her earlier work in "Orlando", "The Beach" or "The Deep End", all which this reviewer can heartily recommend.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Blazing Tour de Force for Tilda SwintonAug. 26 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
JULIA is one of those films that goes beyond being a story and production worth the viewers' attention: this is one of those experiences in observing the art of acting at its peak. Tilda Swinton who continues to explore roles that challenge her and her audience, roles that few other actresses would considering making let alone making, and in JULIA she covers a range of emotions and mutations of a character that simply leave the audience in complete awe of her talent. She is extraordinary!
Julia is a bright but flawed person. She is an alcoholic who spends her nights drinking herself into oblivion only to wake up the next morning not recognizing her bed partner or the surroundings of her comatosed night of stupor. Swinton makes us understand this character's 'way with men' in her grossly revealing clothes and her flirtations backed by a mouth of filth. Julia loses her job over her drunken tardiness and has ruined a 'relationship' with ex-alcoholic Mitch (Saul Rubinek) and finally goes to an AA meeting where she meets Elena (Kate Del Castillo), a pathetic recovering alcoholic whose only goal in life is to retrieve her son Tom (Aidan Gould) from his wealthy disapproving grandfather. Julia is so desperate for money that she buys into a bizarre 'kidnapping' of Tom for Elena, a decision that triggers all of the rest of the film's journey through crime and sleaze as Julia fails at every effort to 'play the game' of criminal to make a fortune. Traveling from Los Angeles through the desert to Mexico, along the way Julia encounters 'co-facilitators' in her new life of crime - portrayed by such fine actors as Bruno Bichir (Demian Bichir's brother), a new and fine young actor Horacio Garcia Rojas, and Eugene Byrd to name only a few of the standout performances. Though a bit overlong at 2 1/2 hours, the script by Michael Collins and Camille Natta is spot on perfect and the direction by Erick Zonca makes the long film always richly colored and fascinating in attention to detail.
But the real reason to watch this film in the astonishing, multifaceted performance by Tilda Swinton, surely one of the finest actresses before us today. Her Julia creates a new level of acting standard- even for Swinton! Grady Harp, August 09