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BEING JULIA

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Annette Bening is simply luminous in this backstage dramedy from István Szabó adapted from a W. Somerset Maugham novella. Bening is Julia Lambert, the toast of 1938 London's light-comedy stage. Utterly self-absorbed and always "on," Julia pings from one off-stage overly dramatized scene to another: her husband of convenience (a droll Jeremy Irons), a youthful American lover (Sean Evans); and a rising ingénue half her age. Spurred by the spectral presence of her stage mentor (Michael Gambon), Julia rouses her thin but capable skills to thoroughly defeat all comers. An amusing trifle, a well-acted bon-bon for the Masterpiece Theater set, with a dash of bitchiness and an enormous closet of marvelous period costumes. Manor 

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