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USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Columbia Tristar Films (UK)
Cast: Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Bruce Greenwood, Miriam Margolyes, Juliet Stevenson, Shaun Evans, Lucy Punch, Maury Chaykin, Sheila McCarthy, Michael Gambon, Leigh Lawson, Rosemary Harris, Rita Tushingham, Thomas Sturridge
Director: Istvan Szabó
Countries: Canada / USA / Hungary / UK
USA & UK: 104 mins
USA Rated: R for some sexuality
UK Certificate: 12A contains moderate sex and language
USA Release Date: 15 October 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 19 November 2004
In 1938, Julia Lambert (Annette Bening) is a beautiful and talented actress in her forties who rules London's West End. Her plays are great successes, making Julia one of the most beloved actresses of her time. Her husband, Michael Gosselyn (Jeremy Irons) is a brilliant theatrical producer who masterminds her career. Julia seems to be one of those lucky women who has everything -- wealth, talent, and celebrity. But in the theater, as in life, appearances are deceiving.
Julia is approaching a delicate time in her life, at her peak physically and professionally; she is smart enough to know that she is rapidly becoming a 'woman of a certain age.' The roles she is used to playing will soon change. Romantic leads will give way to supporting parts as, inevitably, Julia's youth and celebrity fade. Her long-standing marriage is more platonic than romantic and her son is on his way to becoming an adult, reminders that her best years may be behind her.
While she is contemplating her fate, a new man enters her life, Tom Fennell (Shaun Evans) a dashing and charming young American who introduces himself as her greatest fan. Although he is half her age, he believes that Julia is his ideal woman and woos her with a refreshing ardor that cannot be refused. Julia surrenders to his advances and finds herself unexpectedly in the throes of a passionate love affair, which makes her feel more beautiful and vital every day.
Tom is a surprisingly callow youth. After sweeping Julia off her feet and benefiting from her money and status, his attentions turn to a young aspiring actress Avice Crichton (Lucy Punch) and with certain audacity he asks Julia to help launch her rival's career. With uncharacteristic humility and selflessness, Julia agrees, showcasing the ingenue in her new play. Throughout rehearsals, Julia seems to be setting the stage for her own retirement, deferring to the younger actress at every turn.
But on opening night, Julia reveals that she is a more formidable actress than anyone ever imagined.