I had no idea what Miss Julie was about until recently. It’s based on an old play that has been adapted several times, but for whatever reason, I’ve never really heard of it. The 2014 movie is technically an independent film (though Sony/Columbia gave them the official support) which usually don’t do well at the box office at all, assuming if they even get theaters to show the movie. Which is kind of sign that actors and directors want an Oscar, nothing more.
The story is set in the very late 19th century in (what was) the Kingdom of Ireland. But Irish-British politics aren’t really a theme here. Instead you see John, a simple valet who works for a minor baron in Ireland. He is engaged to the estate’s cook, a modest and religious woman named Kathleen. At first we think they are happy and joyful.
Then we see the Baron’s daughter, Miss Julie. While very beautiful, Miss Julie is vain, selfish, and lacks much warmth in her personality. Though she doesn’t seem to be abusive per se to the house staff, but there does seem to be something odd about her. For instance, she commands Kathleen to give a dog a “broth” because the dog got pregnant with a male from another type of breed. For which almost kills the canine mother.
But it becomes clear that Miss Julie has her eyes set on John. But he is engaged to another woman (who works at the same place, no less) and she is the daughter of a baron. Their kind mix like oil and water. But can Miss Julie control her emotions, and can John resist the urge? It’s not going to be a happy life if they give in.
Overall I hated Miss Julie. It was a flop with critics, and regular people hated it even more. Like I said before, I’m assuming they were trying to make some “Oscar bait” and their boat sank right to the bottom of the lake. I blame the director, Liv Ullmann the most on this one. It’s just a dull tale of misery and bad choices, and just three characters saying about the same things for about two hours. Do yourself a favor and avoid this one.