Posts Tagged ‘Miss Julie’


Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 10.48.45 AMRichard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “Cinderella,” “Run All Night,” “The Cobbler” and “Miss Julie.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!




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MISS JULIE: 3 STARS. “a heightened theatrical experience.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 6.48.23 AMAugust Strindberg’s play 1888 “Miss Julie” comes with a preface stressing several key points in the staging of the work. Liv Ullmann, director of the newest film adaptation of the show—the first appeared in 1912—changes the location of the story from the tradition Swedish setting to Ireland, but other than that, for better and for worse, has adhered to Strindberg’s instructions to keep the text natural, the conflict significant and the staging simple.

The action takes place on Midsummer Night 1890 in a mansion owned by Miss Julie’s (Jessica Chastain) aristocratic father. The rambling place is empty save for maid Cathleen (Samantha Morton), John the valet (Colin Farrell) and the count’s daughter.

The films follows a fiery and complex cat-and-mouse as Miss Julie attempts to seduce the handsome and intelligent John despite the presence of his fiancée Cathleen. It’s a power struggle between the well-born Julie and servant John—who reveals he’s been infatuated with her since childhood—that examines, challenges and upends the traditional notions of 19th century class and gender.

Ullmann’s take on “Miss Julie” is conventional. With the exception of a handful of scenes she remains “stage-bound,” presenting most of the action in kitchen of the manse. It is here the fireworks fly, but they come from the feisty performances and not the filmmaking. For the most part the camera stays out of the way, capturing the action as discreetly as possible. It’s a voyeuristic approach that captures the naturalism and simplicity Strindberg hoped for, even though much of the dialogue and situations (a “kiss the boot” scene feels like it might not have been out of place in “50 Shades of Grey”) are hopelessly theatrical.

By the end you’re left with the feeling that watching the latest “Miss Julie” is less a cinematic experience than it is a heightened theatrical one. I’m not sure it is exactly what Strindberg had in mind.