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 ... Written by
Tom tells Julia that Michael has given him a box for the opening of the new play. When we see Tom after Julia makes an obvious reference to him by saying, "B-E-N," he is seated not in a box but in the orchestra section, next to Julia's son and in front of Julia's male friend. See more »
I went to see this because I was glad to see that the daring Annette Bening was finally back on screen as a leading lady, four years after American Beauty. (She really deserves better than supporting Kevin Costner in a western, doesn't she?) I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It looks like a highbrow piece to start with--and it is--but there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments and a couple of sexy scenes worth the price of admission alone. The supporting performances by the always-great Juliet Stevenson (Bend it Like Beckham) and Miriam Margolyes (Cold Comfort Farm) are sublime. Their very presence tipped me off that this would be a winner.
Don't over-analyze this film, just enjoy it. We need more comedies like this and less of the slapstick and/or gross-out variety. Oh, and I almost forgot the best part about this film: It is gloriously schmaltz-free!
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