Miss Julie ★★★½

a bit baffled by the negative reviews because unstable rich baroness jessica chastain absolutely dominating her irish valet colin farrell by ordering him to toast her and kiss her shoes is exactly what i am looking for in my motion pictures? i mean, LOOK at the lboxd header!! the power dynamics between the two are deliciously intricate, constantly pushing and pulling and baiting and switching from cat to mouse and back again. 

the incomparable liv ullman’s script (adapted from august strindberg’s 1888 play) and direction simmer in a palpable longing, eloquently critiquing our tendency towards false idealization of beautiful strangers. john (colin) grew up with a massive crush on miss julie (jessica), even proclaiming he would’ve died for her despite never actually interacting with her, but once the attraction becomes mutual he loses interest (ain’t that the way it goes!). by building her up to be a perfect and subservient woman in his mind, which is far from her domineering and messy personality, he’s created his own personal fantasy that no woman could live up to.

this idea was relevant in 1890 ireland, and it’s even more so now, what with the proliferation of celebrity culture and highly curated social media profiles. just like john and miss julie, we’re living in that liminal disconnect between fantasy and reality, a purgatory where we can’t distinguish between what we think we want and what we truly want. 

i may be making this sound better than it really is? it’s also extremely overwrought and melodramatic. the second hour is mostly just crying from colin and unhinged screaming from jess. those are positives for me, but clearly negatives for most. Women Be Unraveling!