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"The story of two women whose friendship suddenly became a matter of life and death."
  • PG
  • 1977
  • 1 hr 58 min
  • 7.1  (10,324)
  • 58

Julia is a 1977 drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann starring Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, and Maximilian Schell. The movie is set in Europe in the period leading up to World War II, where Lillian Hellman (Jane Fonda), a writer, is reunited with her childhood friend Julia (Vanessa Redgrave), a wealthy and politically active woman, who seeks her help to smuggle funds to help the anti-Nazi cause in Germany. As Lillian's experience with Julia unveils, she learns more about the circumstances of her friend's life and the difference between their worlds as they become entangled in a dangerous quest.

Julia's story is about the friendship of two women, both with vibrant personalities, and their experiences before and during World War II. The film opens in New York in the 1930s, with Lillian Hellman and Julia meeting for the first time in a setting that showcases their personal and professional differences. Julia is shown as a wealthy, indulgent woman who is passionate about fighting fascism and is determined to help the peasants of Russia. Lillian, on the other hand, is a playwright who works hard to succeed in a male-dominated society.

Lillian and Julia's friendship, which began in childhood, is strained and complicated by their contrasting worlds. Their relationship is further tested when Julia's efforts to smuggle funds to Munich from Czechoslovakia put her life in danger. Lillian is asked to travel to Europe to help Julia smuggle the money out of the country, but her attempts are thwarted by the actions of the Nazis.

The film takes the audience on a journey through Europe, with Lillian's travels from Paris to Vienna and then to Berlin, where she hopes to make arrangements for the money transfer. The film is not fast-paced, but the slow pace conveys the intensity of Lillian's sense of displacement and the bleakness of the world around her.

Jane Fonda's role is that of a multi-faceted and compassionate character, who is driven by moral responsibility, but is also revealed as a woman struggling with her own vulnerabilities. Vanessa Redgrave brilliantly portrays Julia, capturing her strength and courage, and highlighting the difference between her privileged life and the harsh realities of the underclass.

Jason Robards plays Dashiell Hammett, Lillian's lover, who shares her political beliefs and is an important figure in their lives. Dashiell provides a stark contrast to the soft-spoken Lillian, with his loud persona and gruff exterior.

Maximilian Schell plays Johann, who Lillian meets in Vienna, and is one of the few people who reveals a more gentle and compassionate side to the characters in the film. Johann and Lillian's relationship evolves into an understated love story that provides one of the most touching moments of the film.

The cinematography is beautiful, as the film is shot in stunning locations in Europe, conveying the grandeur and beauty of the landscapes, while also skillfully drawing attention to the dark and grim reality of the war that is approaching. The use of sound and music is also notable, with the haunting melody of the song "Book of Hours" by Ennio Morricone providing a fitting soundtrack to the emotions of the film.

In conclusion, Julia is a moving and thought-provoking film that explores the lives of two women in a historical period of turmoil and upheaval. It is a film that showcases the power of storytelling and how it can serve as a way to keep the memories of those who fought against injustice and oppression alive. Both Fonda and Redgrave's performances are outstanding, and they showcase the resilience and strength of two women who refuse to give in to the darkness around them. Julia is a must-watch for anyone who loves a well-told story that resonates with the emotional depth of the human experience.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 58 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (10,324)
  • Metascore