The ten films in which Liv Ullmann starred for Ingmar Bergman represent one of the greatest director-actor collaborations in cinema history. It was no surprise, then, that when Ullmann moved into the director’s chair she demonstrated an unerring ability to summon the best from her casts. That skill is on display in Miss Julie, a lacerating study of class, power, and desire that unfolds one Midsummer’s Eve in the late 1800s.

Moving the action to County Fermanagh, Ullmann’s film opens as Julie (Jessica Chastain), daughter of an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, sets out to seduce the valet John (Colin Farrell). The flirtation between the two doubles as a kind of psychological gamesmanship – much of it witnessed by the house cook Kathleen (Samantha Morton).

As Julie, Chastain possesses a beguiling blend of petulance and vulnerability, while Farrell is deliciously duplicitous as John. Yet the film’s secret weapon is Morton, exuding an eerie canniness about all that transpires as this upstairs-downstairs contest careens toward its chilling finish.

Michèle Maheux
Toronto International Film Festival

With the support of the Norwegian Embassy


Please note that the festival is over 18s only