JULIA SCOTTI: FUNNY THAT WAY came across my desk at exactly the wrong time. My father had passed a short time before, I was declining covering films left and right and really wasn't in the mood to see anything. For some reason I clicked on the link for the trailer and it made me smile. There was something warm and sweet about the film and about Julia which perked me up so I agreed to take a look at the film.
What an absolute joy. What an absolutely magnificent portrait of one woman trying to find her happiness and bringing everyone along with her. To be honest the road was hard, marriages broke up, Scotti was estranged from her children for years and things happened, but in the end it seems, that she has found a place where she can be happy.
The film opens with Julia talking about how her story doesn't really matter, but it really does. Julia's story matters because in watching her go from Rick to Julia we see a beautiful story of how, if we are lucky, we too can change ourselves and our worlds for the better by following our hearts. Watching the old video and film of Rick you can see how he was shlumphy and self deprecating. You can see the sadness behind his eyes. On the other hand watching Julia now, interacting with people and performing you can see how much better she is being herself. The sadness is gone, as is the self-eviscerating humor and it is replaced with smiles and jokes that have a warmth to them. Say what you will Julia is so much funnier.
What I love about the film is it leaves me wanting more. Not just more of the story, but it makes me want to track Julia down and just hang out with her. I want some of her joy of life to come my way. I want to go to a diner and shoot the breeze and catch up on old times- despite never having met her before. That the film does this is a testament to not only Julia but director Susan Sandler who has made not so much a film but a personal introduction via bear hug. It's as if she has invited us over for lunch with someone one we "just had to meet" because she knew we'd be great friends. She was right and after watching the film I feel as though I now have a great friend whom I've never met.
I absolutely love this film and it's subject to pieces.
Highly recommended on the level of this is going to be "one of your most cherished films of the year" level, JULIA SCOTTI is going to be continuing on the festival circuit with the film being an official NEWFEST selection starting Friday.