Movie Review: “Miss Julie” Starring Jessica Chastain & Colin Ferrell

by Julia Zdrojewski
The film version of “Miss Julie” directed by Liv Ullman, and based on the play by August Strindberg, opens up with a young Julie running around an empty house. The child is both lonely and motherless, perhaps giving some context for actions and decisions of an adult Julie, played brilliantly by Jessica Chastain, who is both desperate for and revolted by the affection of others.
The story takes place in Ireland, during Midsummer’s Eve in the year 1890. Ullman takes only a few things away from the original text, mostly just minor characters, so that we can focus entirely on the central three: Miss Julie (the baron’s daughter), John (the baron’s valet) and Kathleen (the religious cook and John’s fiancé), who are entangled in a sexual love triangle full of mind games, shared kisses and enough quivering breaths to last a lifetime. Or at least another viewing of the film, which runs at 2 hours 19 minutes and definitely drags at times. 
The film has a singular focus on these characters and their power struggles of class and gender, but fails to ever feel like it’s really going anywhere (Literally, ¾ of the film takes place in the kitchen, leaving the viewer begging for a change of scenery/ pace/ costuming/ ANYTHING). The stagnant scenery translates to the issues of gender and class politics as well. The debate and dialogue centered on a woman of privilege interacting with her father’s servants is intriguing, but never grounds itself in a way that feels relevant and worth investing in. Overall, the movie is acted incredibly well by the three leads, but the film is one you can wait for to come out on Netflix.
Check out the trailer for “Miss Julie” here, which opens Friday December 5th. 

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