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      PG Released Oct 2, 1977 1h 56m Drama List
      73% Tomatometer 30 Reviews 70% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings This Oscar-winning drama, based on the writing of Lillian Hellman, depicts the relationship between two friends and its unexpected consequences. After Lillian (Jane Fonda), a renowned playwright, reunites in Russia with her childhood playmate Julia (Vanessa Redgrave), the writer is recruited to smuggle funds into Germany to aid the anti-Nazi movement. Waiting in the wings is Lillian's lover and mentor, Dashiell Hammett (Jason Robards), who is unaware of her dangerous assignment. Read More Read Less

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      Critics Consensus

      Julia is a handsomely crafted and stirringly performed meditation on friendship and political activism, although its tasteful formalism often undercuts the multifaceted passion of these historical figures.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Gary Arnold Washington Post The crucial problem is that there's so little sense of urgency about anything the filmmakers do. May 9, 2017 Full Review Dave Kehr Chicago Reader It's all in such good taste that it's downright stupefying. Nov 1, 2007 Full Review Variety Staff Variety The period environment, brilliantly recreated in production design, costuming and color processing, complements the topflight performances and direction. Nov 1, 2007 Full Review Stephen Schiff Boston Phoenix Engrossing, moving and well-crafted, the film takes risks without flaunting them and, despite its Major Motion Picture stodginess, succeeds in expanding what's permissible in big-budget Hollywood product. Oct 8, 2021 Full Review Elizabeth Wilson Spare Rib It would have been difficult for any director to dramatise this relationship effectively and perhaps we should applaud [director Fred Zinnemann] for trying before we criticise him for failing. Sep 22, 2021 Full Review David MacDonald Philadelphia Gay News An exceptional film with my highest regards. May 27, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (135) audience reviews
      Alec B It's got strong enough work from Fonda and Redgrave to keep it watchable, but the filmmakers never really establish the relationship between their characters so there isn't much of a investment in what happens to them. Also, I'm unsure of why the film becomes a suspense thriller for about 40 minutes. It's so jarring that I briefly assumed I'd drifted asleep and awoke in the middle of a different film. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 11/10/23 Full Review Audience Member Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda Based on the book by Lillian Hellman and directed by Fred Zinnemann about a woman trying to write her stories and life throws the ultimate one at her It's 1934 and Lillian is a renowned playwright She is struggling to get her next manuscript off the ground The man Dash she stays with is supposed to inspire her She then reunites with her childhood playmate Julia while in Russia But it's the early days of World War II and she's asked to bring in a stack of cash in secret to aid the anti-Nazi movement Dash remains unaware of her dangerous trek Julia believes she shouldn't just live the prestigious wealthy privileged lifestyle and the people in the lower class shouldn't be suffering She also can't fathom why the world couldn't see the holocaust that was coming involving fascism, death, and anti-semitism Lillian finds it straining to write unsure of whether Julia is safe during all the rioting and civil unrest in Europe The first half of this movie is emotionally investing and has a fair amount of suspense The second half kinda meanders though and by then it starts to get very depressing in a way The ending is just downright sad when it looks like nothing is resolved That will upset many viewers much like myself But it gets by on both of these actresses' talents Acts as a handsomely crafted and stirringly performed meditation on friendship and political activism Yet the tasteful formalism could be handled a bit better with these historical people Julia is strangely the least interesting character despite having the title, this should have been called Lillian After all she's the first woman in memory sexually coupled and on par with her lover, intellectually, creatively and morally You can't deny their connection that's for certain and she's stubborn all the way to set things right Fonda and Redgrave are truly terrific together I just wish the movie didn't split them apart so much Rated 2 out of 5 stars 10/02/23 Full Review Charles T The great filmmaker Fred Zinnemann, in the twilight of his career, proved he could still direct with the best of them. Jane Fonda plays writer Lillian Hellman. Hellman is living a quiet life with her lover, Dashiell Hammett (Jason Robards), as she tries to pound out a play. The duo are a perfect match- hard drinking, hard smoking; Hammett is Hellman's mentor and support. Through Hellman's memories, we see a different side. Hellman was once friends with Julia (Vanessa Redgrave), a passionate and lonely girl who was admired by Hellman. The two have physically lost touch over the years, but still remain close through letters. Finally, Lillian tries to contact Julia. Julia leads Lillian into some pre-World War II anti-Nazi intrigue which tests the bounds of their friendship. The most interesting aspect of the film is Fonda's portrayal of Lillian Hellman. She does an excellent job of being bold and confident around Hammett, but turns into an almost child-like, stuttering woman around Julia, and when involved with Julia's plan to smuggle money into Berlin to help out the Jews. Fonda does not seem a likely choice, physically, but she does well. Redgrave won the Oscar deservedly, especially when her character is not onscreen much of the time, or lying in bed bandaged and unable to speak. Robards is good, as is Maximilian Schell in a tiny role as one of Julia's co-conspirators. The supporting cast also includes familiar faces like Hal Holbrook, John Glover- who was also in "Annie Hall," that year's Best Picture Oscar winner, and Meryl Streep. Alvin Sargent's screenplay jumps back and forth in time, and Zinnemann keeps the viewer grounded. Every shot he makes is beautiful, the film looks very expensive, but there is a grittiness to the look that tells you Hellman's life was not all roses. "Julia" is a hard film to explain in one or two sentences. It concerns friendship, loss, sorrow, war, and chain smoking. It is one of the most underrated films of the 1970's, and my pick for the second best film of 1977 right after "Star Wars". Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/28/23 Full Review Leaburn This film was very good 👍🏼 Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review john e 1977's Julia afforded Jane Fonda a nomination for a Best Actress Oscar and provided Vanessa Redgrave with an acting Oscar win, her only one out of seven nominations. The film is also notable for being the screen debut of Meryl Streep. My journey to see all Meryl Streep movies continues! Julia tells the tale of two women who grew up as childhood friends and continued a close friendship through adulthood. Julia (Redgrave) comes from great wealth and is being raised by her grandparents in America. There she meets Lillian (Fonda) and the two seem to build an entire world around their unique friendship. The movie continually time shifts between present day (the 1930s), their childhood past and time periods in-between the two. After becoming a successful playwright, Lillian is invited to a writer's conference in USSR. Through intermediaries, Julia reaches out to Lillian to seek her assistance in sneaking money into USSR. Julia is now working for the anti-Nazi resistance. Lillian eventually agrees to and embarks on a train ride to Berlin to see her longtime friend again. It is at this time that the film has its longest linear storytelling, and the film reaches its crescendo. The acting is superb throughout, not only by the leads but by the outstanding international array of supporting actors including Jason Robards, Maximillion Schell, Rosemary Murphy, John Glover, Hal Holbrook, Elisabeth Mortenson and the aforementioned Streep. Jane Fonda is reported to have told director Fred Zinnemen, "This one will go far", referring to Streep! The cinematography is often breathtaking, and the film was awarded an Oscar nomination for it, along with costuming, editing and musical score. It is not a perfect film and suffers from the number of interlocking vignettes it tries to insert as a means of attempting to establish character and relationship development, as well as simply expanding the story beyond its suspenseful train journey. That said, it is still a wonderful piece of art and worthy of the Oscar nomination it received for Best Picture. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review jordan m This came off to me as one of those movies where everyone liked the general story it was telling and sort of voted for it by default in some Oscar categories that it didn't really deserve recognition in. Everyone did a fine job with the acting, but it becomes clear as the movie drags on that this would've been a far more interesting story when told from the point of view of pretty much anyone other than the Lillian character. The nail in the coffin for me was the illogical rudeness in how she treated the people on the phone. I've worked exclusively in call center jobs my entire adult life and have developed an allergic reaction to people who proclaim they can't hear or understand you in a way that implies it's your fault and not theirs. It's a favored, mildly racist pastime of older Americans to call in for help with something they could've Googled and then put no effort into deciphering the accent of the person assigned to help them; it makes even less sense for Lillian to be doing it in the context of this movie as she's fully aware she's in a foreign country, yet displays impatience and condescension to the person on the phone (who is presumably speaking English as a second or third language) who would surely like nothing more than to answer her questions. The lack of empathy I had for her character was caused initially by her passive role in the story anyway, but was cemented by her being inconsiderate when she needn't have been! Rated 1 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews

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      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis This Oscar-winning drama, based on the writing of Lillian Hellman, depicts the relationship between two friends and its unexpected consequences. After Lillian (Jane Fonda), a renowned playwright, reunites in Russia with her childhood playmate Julia (Vanessa Redgrave), the writer is recruited to smuggle funds into Germany to aid the anti-Nazi movement. Waiting in the wings is Lillian's lover and mentor, Dashiell Hammett (Jason Robards), who is unaware of her dangerous assignment.
      Fred Zinnemann
      Richard Roth
      20th Century Fox
      Production Co
      20th Century Fox
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Oct 2, 1977, Limited
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Dec 5, 2016
      1h 56m