Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons are superb in the film Being Julia. Bening plays a successful actress enjoying fame and fortune even though she is reaching close to 50 years old. She and her husband, played by Irons, have long had an open marriage. They are business partners as well as parents to a young college age son. Bening plays in one hit play after another but she is reaching the point of artistic, spiritual and physical exhaustion. She meets a handsome gentleman her age for dinner engagements and his attentions and wise advice certainly helps her maintain stability, but she is highly vulnerable as she starts to fall in the mid-life crisis age.
Into this situation falls a handsome young American man with great enthusiasm for Julia and for show business. He seems innocent and young and naive but this is hardly the case. When pursuing a woman, he is determined, self-assured, assertive, funny, fun loving and knowing beyond his years. What does a famous actress do when faced with a handsome adoring younger man while she is in the midst of a vulnerable mid-life crisis?
Julia, who is a master of the stage, is somewhat vulnerable when dealing with real emotional experiences. The ghost of her former friend and director appears often to give her advice on emotion and reality, but Julia makes every wrong move with the handsome young man. She violates the three primary rules of the game of affairs. She admits to him that she has fallen in love with him, she shows open jealousy and possessiveness, and she becomes clinging and weepy. This is the perfect formula to drive a new lover away. To make matters worse, she gives him expensive gifts and lends him money for his debts.
When a young, talented, beautiful aspiring actress comes into the scene, the formula changes. Julia finds that Tom has fallen in love with the girl and that her husband is having an affair with her also. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the resolution of the film is Julia's strategy to once again gain the upper hand.
Exceptionally well acted, both Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons are superb. The supporting cast is also exceptional.