Annette Bening's outstanding performance is the best reason to see Being Julia, a highly melodramatic adaptation of the 1937 novel Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham. With a prestigious pedigree (director Istvan Szabo and screenwriter Ronald Harwood share impressive theatrical backgrounds) and a stellar cast including Jeremy Irons, Bruce Greenwood, and Juliet Stevenson, the film's backstage and onstage theatrics take place in pre-World War II London, when the venerable actress Julia (Bening) fends off middle-age by romancing a stage-struck young American (Shaun Evans) in a calculated attempt to retain some youthful vitality while airing her own dirty laundry onstage in a glorious act of divine diva behavior.
My name is Julia, and I'm the daughter of Connor and Ellery Black. I may look like Daddy's little princess, but I'm far from it. My life consists of lying to my parents and sneaking out of the penthouse. My CEO millionaire father seems to think that at the tender age of sixteen, I'm too young to date boys. My mother, the artist, tries to stay neutral and doesn't say too much.
1938. Julia Lambert and Michael Gosselyn are the royal couple of the London theater scene, Julia an actress and Michael a former actor who took over running the theater and its troupe upon the passing of their mentor, Jimmie Langton. Jimmie is still constantly with Julia in spirit as she navigates through life. Besides their work, Julia and Michael lead largely separate lives, they long ago having stopped a sexual relationship.