Synopsis: Julia, 40, is an alcoholic. She is a manipulative, unreliable, compulsive liar, all strung out beneath her still flamboyant exterior. Between shots of vodka and one-night stands, Julia gets by on nickel-and-dime jobs. Increasingly lonely, the only consideration she receives comes from her friend Mitch, who tries to help her. But she shrugs him off, as her alcohol-induced confusion daily reinforces her sense that life has dealt her a losing hand and that she is not to blame for the mess she has made of it. Glimpsing imminent perdition, and after a chance encounter with Elena, a Mexican woman, Julia convinces herself – as much in panic and despair as for financial gain – to commit a violent act. As the story unfolds, Julia's journey becomes a headlong flight on a collision course, but somehow she makes the choice of life over death. [Synopsis courtesy of Magnolia Pictures]
Round-up: "Claw, crawl, stumble, scurry, fly like a bat out of this hell — Ms. Swinton does it all," Manohla Dargis writes in her positive review of "Julia." "There are few film actresses working today who can emb... race the extremes of beauty and ugliness as persuasively as Tilda Swinton, and fewer still, I suspect, who have the guts to try." Dargis is one of the few critics to come out in full favor of the film (The Hollywood Reporter's Gregory Valens being another), but most of the mixed ones still single out Swinton. "This overlong, lurchy homage to John Cassavetes' 1980 film Gloria is a mess, but a fascinating one, given Swinton's desperately avid performance in the title role," said EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum in her review, while The Los Angeles Times' Betsy Shakey writes: "As a fading beauty with money problems and an unquenchable thirst, the actress is disturbingly dead-on and the place she takes us is very ugly indeed." One of the most scathing reviews comes care of The New York Post's Kyle Smith, who also singles out Swinton, but for different reasons. Calling it "a slow and pointless movie," Smith notes that "never for a moment is the movie about anything but this performance, and never does Swinton let you forget she's acting."