A 1930's diva goes through a mid-life crisis. She does what we'd all do, and finds a bit of totty half her age. But of course things rarely go to plan, and hell hath no fury...
Annette Bening may not be the obvious choice to play an ageing British stage actress in the 1930s, but she does a good job of holding this slightly rambling comedy-drama together. Based on a Somerset Maugham novel, Being Julia sees theatrical diva Julia Lambert approaching a midlife crisis, which is temporarily resolved by an affair with a much younger American man (Evans).
For a woman who defines herself by her sexuality, his eventual betrayal comes as a great blow, and her creative payback brightens an otherwise routine period pic, with the suspenseful, bitterly funny revenge sequence shining brightest. It's a shame the suggested theme of identity remains undeveloped, but there are enough laughs and splashes of nostalgic glamour to excuse that.
Bening is certainly a strong enough performer to make this worthwhile, and who doesn't like a 30's boytoy?
Reviewed by Anna Smith