Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea) and Peter Mullan (Trainspotting) deliver riveting performances (Newsday) in this tale of desire, passion and betrayal that pits upper class against lower class in a 'superbly staged battle... more » between the sexes (Detour). With a script basedon August Strindberg's famous play and written for the screen by Helen Cooper, Miss Julie director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) presents a taut and intimate story, holding you with the intensity of his vision and his mastery of nuance (Los Angeles Times) from beginning to end. On a late 19th-century estate, a celebration of wine and beer lets loose inhibitions and innerpassions. Jean (Mullan), the Count's footman, takes the advances of the Count's daughter (Burrows) too far with a scandalous encounter in the kitchen. And over one night, it becomes clear that these two lost souls desperately need each other in order to escape the confinesand trappingsof their lives. But can a servant support a noblewoman, who, without her father's money, is no more privileged than he?« less
B Doris D. (Frenchie300) from DETROIT, MI Reviewed on 12/31/2008...
Mike Figgis' adaptation of Strindberg's play "Miss Julie" is nothing short of brilliant. While remaining faithful to the play format, Figgis uses cinematography in a way that enhances the psychological impact of the affair by using a split screen which focuses on Jean and Julie's facial expressions and not their bodies. And, what about Christine, the maid? Her character brings a religious dimension to the play. This film is a theater lover's dream come true. It is not light fare and not for everyone. It is a gem to be savored over and over again by true lovers of fine theater.
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Tarra S. (thesaintmom) from PIEDMONT, SC Reviewed on 4/3/2008...
Very on the edge drama! I loved it. I could not figure out what was going to happen next. Great movie!
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An Intricate Scene
email@example.com | Atlanta, GA | 07/12/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This film was interesting. On one hand not a whole lot happens, but on the hand a whole lot happens. In other words the story takes the audience through a very brief, but very defining, moment in the characters lives. The two priciple characters are a noble woman, Miss Julie(Saffron Burrows), and her father's footman, Jean(Peter Mullan). They have apparently had an infatuation with each other for some time, but their difference in class has kept them apart. One night at a party their passion boils over. The entire film concentrates on the small events of this evening and the ramifications it will have. Both characters have terrible inner conflicts with themselves and their position in society. This all makes for a very engaging scene. That being said this film seemed more like an extended scene than it did the sum of parts that traditionally equal a film, which is it's biggest drawback. The film was adapted from a play and it really seemed like one. Certainly director Mike Figgis(Leaving Los Vegas) shot this movie as such. The camera masterfully moves in and out and back and forth between these two tragic figures. Burrows and Mullan both excell in their roles and their chemistry is electric. On the whole this was a good film. I recommend it to fans of character driven films, as well as theater , and 19th century dramas."
Powerful, but not for everyone
flickjunkie | 07/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"August Strindberg is one of Sweden's most important writers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. `Miss Julie' is one of Strindberg's plays written around the turn of the century. This is a powerful story of anger, hate, lust and class envy. The play revolves around two main characters. Jean (Peter Mullan) is a footman, a servant to a Count in northern Sweden in the late 1890's. Julie (Saffron Burrows) is the Count's shrewish and self loathing daughter.Jean is tormented by his attraction to Julie and his simultaneous hatred of her class. The play focuses on an encounter they have one midsummer's night in the servants' kitchen. Jean takes his resentment out on Julie with sarcastic remarks and open disdain for the gentry of which she is a part. She responds sometimes docilely and contritely, and at others with condescending vitriol. This open antipathy belies their sexual attraction and the embattled conversation leads to a seduction, which is really less of a seduction than a mutual ravishment. Afterward, as Julie is more vulnerable, Jean attempts to manipulate her into stealing money from her father and running away with him so he can indulge his secret ambition to own a hotel and become a part of the upper class he now so despises. The film ends on a decided downbeat, which is no surprise given the characters' deeply disturbed personalities.The story is intense, intelligent and visceral. It is has more the feel of a play (one set, crude props, only one or two costumes per actor). However, though the acting is more that of a theatrical production, it is shot more like a modern motion picture. Director Mike Figgis does a good job with the camera, using some innovative techniques to keep it from looking like you are watching a play through a window.The story is likely to be appreciated by only a very small audience. Not only is it very dark, but all the characters are distasteful. Jean is angry, sardonic, obnoxious and manipulative. Julie is shrewish, condescending, self hating, and insecure. There is really no one with whom the audience can identify. This renders the entire story potent but extremely unpleasant. Also, it deals with themes that were mainstream in 1900, but are generally beyond the ken of today's audiences.The actors were fabulously cast and the acting superb. Peter Mullen is short, craggy and Napoleonic, while Saffron Burrows is tall, willowy, and graceful. Besides being well cast for their stations, she was at least four inches taller than he, and this worked well with all the allusions to the aristocracy being "up there" and the servants being "down here".Peter Mullen played the part flat out. He was pugnacious and full of indignant rage, envy and spurn. The acclaim Saffron Burrows received for this performance was well deserved. She handled the difficult range of emotions deftly, moving effortlessly from whimpering child to haughty virago and all the complex self torturing emotions in between.I rated this film an 8/10. This is not a film for everyone. In fact it is a film that most people will probably dislike. I would recommend it for the ardent theatergoer who is a battle tested veteran of microscopic character studies involving flawed characters. To like this film you have to be one who can appreciate trying and disturbing emotional portrayals without a need to like any of the characters. For everyone else, it will probably be a harrowing and disagreeable experience."
Well-acted film, but don't expect to enjoy it
A. J Terry | 05/25/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Don't expect this film about one night of sexual relationship between a count's daughter and her footman to be a light-hearted French-style romp. It is, instead, a highly depressing film about a deeply self-destructive woman and a ruthless, heartless man. Throughout the film, each relentlessly attempts to dominate and ultimately destroy the other. True, there's some well-worded dialog about class and gender relations, that's highly radical for the 1880s, when I believe the original play was written. The strong overtones of sadism are probably original. Although I suspect the four-letter words and other explicit references were inserted in the modern film script.
But the characters-particularly Miss Julie-are so utterly irrational, that I couldn't help spending the film saying "Geez, guys, just quit drinking, get some sleep, and things will look better in the morning." At one point, when Miss Julie proposes a suicide pact, the footman replies, "I'd rather open a hotel."
This is a tough one to review!!!
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 01/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Some movies baffle me.I want to like them,but something just won't let me embrace the entire work.MISS JULIE is one such film.While I found the actors outstanding in their performances, I was intensely aware that this was adapted from a play.It felt exactly like a play that maybe I would have enjoyed more sitting in a live theatre,able to sense the energy of other people.For me,some plays just simply do not adapt well to the screen.While I admired the unique camera work and Mike Figgis' attempt to film this work SOMETHING just did not work.Maybe in the hands of another director or opening up the film from that claustrophobic kitchen would make MISS JULIE more interesting to be viewed on a screen;but until that happens I feel that MISS JULIE needs to remain a play. Also,some of the dialogue gets so low that it practically becomes inaudible.I was constantly rewinding in order not to miss anything.That's frustrating!"