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Tilda Swinton drinks and smokes her way through Julia.

Tilda Swinton proves she was worthy of that Oscar she won, but…she needs to prove she can read a script and decide if it’s a worthy picture.

In this, she plays an alcoholic woman that sleeps with everyone in sight. She eventually loses her job, and that puts her in a downward spiral. Watching the first half of this movie was intriguing. It was written and directed by Erick Zonca, and I’m not sure why he botched things up so bad in the second half.

Julia has a neighbor that wants her to kidnap her son. He is living with her wealthy, estranged husband. Julia has never made the best decisions, so this is on par for the course and believable. Well, as is usually the case with alcoholics…or people that think they can kidnap somebody for quick cash (see Fargo)…things go horribly wrong.

I started to think about half way through the movie that perhaps Swinton was going a bit over the top. Since I think she’s one of the best actresses around, I blame Zonca. It was all so melodramatic, watching her attempt to walk in high heels and clothes that make her look like a prostitute. We’d also occasionally get the boob flop out of her shirt, too. It came across like a woman acting like an alcoholic in a film from the ‘50s. It makes Julia seem like a Hollywood created alcoholic, not a real life one. Yet that’s never stopped the Academy from giving somebody a nomination, so don’t be surprised if she gets one.

I loved the character the underrated Saul Rubinek plays. He’s a recovering alcoholic that tries talking sense into Julia. They have one scene where he explains the situation that led him into AA. It was so powerful and moving, and it made me wish for more of that great dialogue. Rubinek was perfectly cast. His facial expressions, tone of voice, everything was spot on for that character. Yet it’s so poorly written that later in the movie, I have to question the things he ends up doing. I ended up not buying it for a second, and it ruined an interesting character.

Another problem this movie has is that Julia is such an unlikable person, we never once root for her, but merely get frustrated by her and the continual bad decisions she makes. And really, do you want to sit there for two hours watching such a loathsome character? I certainly didn’t.

This gets a 1 ½ stars out of 5.

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