Being Julia

Synopsis: 1938. Julia Lambert and Michael Gosselyn are the royal couple of the London theater scene, Julia an actress and Michael a former actor who took over running the theater and its troupe upon the passing of their mentor, Jimmie Langton. Jimmie is still constantly with Julia in spirit as she navigates through life. Besides their work, Julia and Michael lead largely separate lives, they long ago having stopped a sexual relationship. Julia of late has been feeling disenchanted with her life, she not wanting to admit it's because she is approaching middle age. Her disenchantment manifests itself in wanting Michael to close their current production early so that she can recharge her juices, something he is reluctant to do if only for not wanting to let the theater sit empty. What Julia ends up doing instead is embarking on an affair with Tom Fennel, an adoring young American who is young enough to be her son. As Julia and Tom's relationship progresses, the more she falls in love with him and b
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): István Szabó
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 18 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min


I've lived in the

theatre since I was a kid.

What I don't know about acting

isn't worth knowing.

Now, you may be 20 years

old and just beginning,

but I think you're a genius.

You've got magnetism,

but no idea how to use it.

You have to grab the audience

by the throat and say:

"Now, you buggers, you

pay attention to me!"

And remember this,

when you're on the stage acting,

the theatre is the only reality.

Everything else, the world outside,

what civilians call the real world,

is nothing but fantasy.

And I bloody well

won't let you forget it.

The trouble is, darling,

I'm an incurable romantic.

I believe in love,

I believe in happiness,

I believe in us.

(Archie) No, you don't.

You're just saying that.

There's someone else, isn't there?

I love you, I do.

I do, I

love you--

And I used to believe

we'd live happily ever after.

Didn't you?

With every fiber of my being.

only now...

[Audience applauding]

[Car honking]

[Clock bell tolls]

[Door squeaking]

Good morning, miss Lambert.

Good morning, Margery,

is anyone with my lord and master?

(Margery) No.

Darling, what are you doing here?

I want an answer, Michael.

What's the question?

What did I say to you

before we went to sleep last night, hmm?

Uh, I give up. What did you say to me

before we went to sleep last night?

I said I was tired.

It seems a perfectly natural thing

to say before you go to sleep.

Christ, Michael, you can be

an irritating little sh*t!

Julia, Julia, really,

if your public could

only hear your language.

I want them to hear.

I want every bloody one of them to hear.

I'm tired. I am utterly exhausted.

I need a holiday.

Just admit it, Michael.

you've never understood what it means

to carry a play,

to sweat it out night after night.

I'm the only one who takes it

seriously, Michael, you know that.

All you do is count the money and

think it's a bloody great lark.

Take the play off.

But we'll lose a fortune.

Our partner won't like it.

To hell with dolly!


I'm sorry, sweetheart.

God, I didn't mean to be so vile.

It's just I'm-- I'm

near to breaking point.

Everything's so tedious.


I want something to happen.


I wish I knew.

Please. please close the

play at the end of the month.


Yeah. I really do

have to think about it.

We can't have the theatre dark.


I'll try and see what

I can do. I promise.



I promise.

Thank you.

You were very quiet

leaving the house this morning.

Well, I didn't want to wake you.

You were dead to the world.

Hmm. I did my exercises

and went for a run.

Exercises, running...

God, Michael,

you're the vainest man in London.

Me, vain? nonsense.


I just want to preserve my magnificent

good looks for as long as possible.


Oh, yes, speaking of good looks,

did you notice that

young man as you came in?


He's an American.

Son of a friend of a

friend of Eddie Gilbert's.

I can't see what that's

got to do with me.

He admires you tremendously.

Oh, he sounds frightfully intelligent.

What's his name?

Can't remember.

Uh, unfortunately,

he's as poor as a church mouse.

I thought we might give

him a spot of lunch.

Well, he's awfully

good-mannered, for an American.

(Julia) Uh!

Rubbish mail, Margery.

Yes, Mr. Gosselyn.

Uh, I would like to

introduce you to my wife,

Julia Lambert.

Julia, this

is-- this is--

this is the young man

I was telling you about.

He wants to learn the business,

so we're starting him

off with our accountant.

It-it's an honor to

meet you, miss Lambert.

I wonder if we could persuade you

to come and eat a chop with us.

Michael will drive you back after lunch.

Gee, that's real kind of you.

You two take the lift,

I'll take the stairs.

Last one down's a sissy.

Miss Lambert,

could I-- could

I ask you a favor?

I can't give you any more

room, if that's what you mean.

No, no, no, it's, uh... I wonder...

would you...

would you let me have a photograph?

Of course.

Gee, that's swell of you.

I've seen you in

"Farewell, my love" 3 times.

You haven't. Have you really?

It's such a silly play.

Oh, it's not the play,

it's you. You're just... just great.

I'm glad you liked me.

Liked you? I loved you.

[Elevator thudding]

[Door squeaking]

- I won.

- (Julia) What?

Well done.

Come on, Mr... uh...

all an actress like Julia needs

is a vehicle.

It's the actors the public go to see,

not the play.

That's true in my case. I'd see

you in anything, miss Lambert.

But you know what I'd

really like to find out?

How did you start?

How did you get to be where you are,

owning a theatre, top of the tree?

Clean living and hard work. Cigarette?

We owe it all to a rude, foul-mouthed

brute called Jimmie Langton.

We were in his repertory

company in Middlesbrough.

He knew all there is to know

about theatre and acting.

That's where I met Michael.

That's how we began.

I was a rotten actor.

Yes, but you have presence.

The audience always

gasps when you come on.

It's his dazzling good looks, you see.

Gee, this is fascinating. fascinating.

Dreadfully jealous of him?

You're very sweet, but

I know perfectly well

that all I can play are

diplomats, lawyers and politicians.

I'm more interested in

the business side. that's--

Yes, but you know as well as I do

that we'd be nothing without Jimmie.

I always lay a place

for him at the table.

Just in case he turns up.

He's been dead for 15 years.

Yes, but you never know.

He was a monster.

Uh, how do you spell your first name?

T- O-M.


[Nib squeaking]

[Gramophone playing]

[People clapping]

[Car honking]

(Dancer) Hoy!





(Archie) For God's sake,

don't torture yourself like this, Laura.

[Julia sobbing]

No one will ever know

how much I loved him.

He was my earth, my moon,

all the stars in the firmament.

Farewell, my love.

[Audience applauding]

Bravo! Bravo!

[People laughing]

No, there's nothing left for me now

but to tour Canada and Australia,

God help me.

Nonsense, miss Lambert.

It's not nonsense.


I've decided to retire

and let myself go.

I'll have potatoes for lunch

and potatoes for dinner.

Beer. God, I love beer!

And treacle pudding and

cherry tart and cream.

Cream, cream, cream, cream, cream...

[Breathing deeply]

as God is my judge,

I'll never eat a lettuce leaf again.

[Doorbell ringing]

Oh, God, I bet I know who that is.

Good afternoon, Evie.

Oh, Mrs. De Vries, what a surprise.

Uh, I hope this isn't inconvenient

but I have to see miss Lambert

on a business matter.

She isn't having one

of her afternoon naps,

is she?

Wait a minute.

[Door squeaking]

Guess who's here.

Show her in.

Business, she says, but isn't it funny

how she always manages

to time her visits

when you're lying stark bollock naked.

Enough of that, you dirty-minded slut.

Show her in.

Mrs. De Vries.

(Dolly) Julia, darling.

Dolly, dear. hmm.

Oh, I'm so sorry.

I always seem to call when

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Ronald Harwood

Sir Ronald Harwood, CBE, FRSL (born Ronald Horwitz; 9 November 1934) is an author, playwright and screenwriter. He is most noted for his plays for the British stage as well as the screenplays for The Dresser (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) and The Pianist, for which he won the 2003 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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