Miss Julie (2014 film)
|Directed by||Liv Ullmann|
Tristan Orpen Lynch|
|Screenplay by||Liv Ullmann|
by August Strindberg
|Edited by||Michal Leszczylowski|
The Apocalypse Films Company
|Distributed by||Columbia TriStar|
Miss Julie is a 2014 independent period drama film written and directed by Liv Ullmann, based on the play of the same name by August Strindberg and starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton. Set in Ireland in this adaptation, it had its world premiere in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It was a co-production of Norway, United Kingdom, Ireland, and France.
In 1890, in Fermanagh in north Ireland, during the course of a Midsummer Night's Eve celebration, Julie (Jessica Chastain), the daughter of the Baron, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, attempts to seduce her father's valet, John (Colin Farrell). The affair quickly goes to some dark places, with power and class playing a key role. The movie starts with a prologue that sees a young Miss Julie aimlessly wandering in the empty confines of her father’s castle. We see her calling out for her mother and walking by the brook where she sees one of her dolls stuck in a tree. She lets out a slightly sinister snicker at the sight of the abandoned doll, and returns to her vast mansion. We jump to Midsummer Night 1890, where the same castle is deserted, save for three individuals; Kathleen the maid (Samantha Morton), John the valet and Miss Julie, the Baron’s daughter. Kathleen and John immediately gossip about the lady of the house, specifically how she forced John to dance with her. The flirty dynamic between Kathleen and John suggests a familiarity that oversteps the boundaries of a working relationship, and John doesn’t fail to notice Kathleen’s jealous reaction. And then, Miss Julie enters. Kathleen takes her leave to look after Miss Julie’s suffering dog, while the young aristocrat, who appears to be in a mischievous sort of mood, traps John. The night grows stranger still, as master and servant continue to exchange impassioned monologues composed of lustful innuendoes and agonizing tension. At one moment, John confesses that he’s been in love with her since he first laid eyes on her as a child, and the next sees him in staunch denial, quick to remind her of their vastly different positions on the social ladder. She’s just as capricious, ordering him around like a slave, and then transforming into a damsel in distress. The back-and-forth continues, until libido overpowers them both and they end up in John’s bedroom. Be it a product of John’s uncontrollable instincts, or Julie’s need to be wanted, the sex comes with catastrophic implications and the tensions continue to ascend to a boiling point.
- Jessica Chastain as Miss Julie
- Colin Farrell as John, valet
- Samantha Morton as Kathleen, a cook in the Baron's house and John's fiance
- Nora McMenamy as the little Miss Julie
Filming began in April 2013. In a change of setting from the original Sweden of the play, the film was shot at Castle Coole, a late 18th-century country mansion in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
Many reviewers noted the strong performances by the three actors, but criticized Ullmann as a director for keeping the film too static and tied to the stage play. Sheila O'Malley wrote for RogerEbert.com, "The claustrophobia of the kitchen is overwhelming in the film, and the shots of Miss Julie wandering through the manor by herself, her posture broken and stiff, her dress falling off her shoulder, give us a welcome (and yet rivetingly disturbing) change of scene." She continued, "The film has undeniable power," and assures that if one is interested in raw and intense acting at its finest, this film is incredible.
- Driscoll, Amanda. "Colin Farrell, Jessica Chastain to shoot period movie 'Miss Julie' in Co. Fermanagh". Irish Central. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "Toronto Film Festival Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- Hanna, Beth (31 January 2013). "Casting Watch: Chastain Is 'Miss Julie' with Liv Ullmann at the Helm, Farrell and Morton to Co-Star". IndieWire. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Boehm, Mike (1 February 2013). "Jessica Chastain to star in Liv Ullmann's film of 'Miss Julie'". LA Times. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Chitwood, Adam. "Jessica Chastain in the Running to Play Jane in David Yates' TARZAN?". Collider. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Monahan, Meadhbh. "Farrell among stellar cast to film £3.6m movie at Castle Coole". The Impartial Reporter. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Dennis Harvey, "Toronto Film Review: Miss Julie", Variety, 7 September 2014, accessed 14 September 2015
- Coleman, Maureen. "Brief intermission for Colin ahead of 'Miss Julie' shoot". Independent.ie. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Sheila O'Malley, "Miss Julie", RogerEbert.com, 5 December 2014
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