Julia (2008)

Julia 2008tt0903627.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Julia (2008)
  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 3,221 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 12 March 2008 (France)
  • Runtime: 144 min
  • Filming Location: Laguna Salada, Mexicali, Baja California Norte, Mexico
  • Budget: $6,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $1,268,133(Non-USA)(29 March 2009)
  • Director: Erick Zonca
  • Stars: Tilda Swinton, Saul Rubinek and Kate del Castillo
  • Soundtrack: You can do it
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Money | Boy | Neighbor | Aa Meeting | Ransom

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Roger Bohbot  adaptation
  • Michael Collins  adaptation
  • Aude Py  written by
  • Erick Zonca  written by

Known Trivia

  • In real life, Tilda Swinton, who plays an alcoholic in the film, cannot drink. She says she would fall asleep after having just one glass.
  • On the cover of the DVD, Tilda Swinton is incorrectly referred to as Tilda Swanton.

Goofs: Errors in geography: The motel scenes in which Julia holds Tom captive that are supposed to be set in California have non-American electrical outlets, revealing the scenes' Mexican location.

Plot: A woman tries to extort money, using a young boy as bait. Full summary »  »

Story: Julia is a drunk. She loses her job in real estate and at an A.A. meeting meets a neighbor, Elena, an addled Mexican woman who talks about having lots of money and a plan to kidnap her own son from the boy's grandfather, a wealthy businessman. Elena wants Julia's help. Julia says yes with her own plan to do this alone. Following Elena's plan, Julia manages to grab the boy, Tom, who's about 10. Now what? She asks for a ransom. Tom's grandfather and his money are connected directly to Mexican drug trafficking, so Julia is up against long odds. Will anyone make it out alive?Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>  


Synopsis: Julia is an alcoholic on the constant decline. She spends the nights partying, usually not knowing where she is, when she wakes up.

Because of that, she loses her job. Her only friend, Mitch, a recovering alcoholic himself, makes her go to an AA meeting, where she meets her neighbour, Elena.

A few days later, Julia passes out on the sidewalk in front of her apartment building. When she comes to, she’s in Elena’s flat. Elena starts to talk about her son Tommy, who lives with his grandfather, because his father died and Elena herself has a history of psychosis. The grandfather is very rich.

Elena tells Julia that she wants to kidnap her son and go back to Mexico with him and she needs Julia to help her, she would pay her $50,000.

Julia declines at first, but after a couple of drinks and overcoming a few doubts, she tells Elena that she’ll do it.

But Julia is not satisfied with the arrangement and goes to her old friend Nick, a former crook. She asks him to help her kidnap the child and ask for a ransom from his grandfather. Nick says no.

Julia then goes to an acquaintance of hers, Leon, to ask him for help. She tells him that Elena owes her $5,000 and that she would split with him if helped her. He agrees to do it. Leon gets her a gun.

Elena explains the plan. The boy and his guardian will be swimming at the river in a couple of days time. Julia should wait in the car close to the place, while Elena gets Tommy and then Julia shall drive them to the border. Elena asks Julia not to drink that day.

Julia agrees to everything, getting very drunk before the whole thing. Mitch finds her and sleeps with her, telling her the whole story of how he lost his family through his alcoholism and that Julia should take care of herself and watch out. Julia leaves, not caring about what he said.

Later, she discovers that Elena doesn’t have any money after all.

Finally, the day is here. Julia waits in her car, when Tommys guardian notices that he has a flat tire. He sees Julias car and walks up to her, asking for a car jack. She gives him one. When he returns and puts it back in the trunk, she hits him with the car, drives over him twice and then goes to get the boy.

She locks Tommy in the trunk and takes off. In panic, she drives to a motel with him, in the desert. In the motel, she makes him take sleeping pills, binds him up and calls the grandfather and asks for a ransom, 2 mio dollars.

They spend 2 days in preparation for the exchange. Julia and Tommy start to interact more.

Julia leaves Tommy in the desert, promising him that she will bring him to his mum, before she drives into the city to get the ransom. But before Julia gets the money from the locker at the bus station, as arranged, she notices that theres police around and leaves in a hurry.

When she comes back to the desert, Tommys gone. She spends the night looking for him, finally finding him in the morning, passed out and almost completely dehydrated. She gets him into her car, gives him water and then hides with him, not knowing what to do.

In the evening, the border patrol finds her car while they are looking for immigrants. Again panicking, Julia takes off and arrives in Tijuana, Mexico with Tommy.

Tommy starts to trust Julia and begins to look forward to meeting his mum. While they are shopping for clothes, Julia meets Diego, who offers himself as a tourist guide. She declines.

Later she gets a call from Tommy’s grandfather who tells her to call Mitch. She does and Mitch says that he has been in contact with the grandfather and that he would come to wherever she was and bring her the 2 million dollars, no questions asked. She tells him to come to Tijuana, which he will the next evening.

In the evening, Julia and Tommy go out to get something to eat, running into Diego again.

The next morning, they both wake up at his house. Tommy’s in bed with a girl, when Diego gets him and brings him to Julia. They cuddle for a while before getting up.

Julia enjoys the sun, when suddenly she notices that she doesn’t know where Tommy is anymore. She gets the little girl Tommy woke up next to, to help her find Diego. Diego doesnt know where Tommy is, either, but is sure that he has been kidnapped.

Anxiously they wait for something to happen, when Miguel, a taxi driver, turns up with a message: Somebody kidnapped Tommy and they want $50,000 ransom from Julia, who they take for his mom.

Julia is devastated. She doesn’t want something to happen to Tommy but she doesn’t have the money either. But she tells Miguel that she will have the money in the evening and gives him her phone number. When he leaves, she leaves Diego behind and follows Miguel. He goes to the police station and her phone rings its the kidnappers.

When Miguel comes back out, she continues to follow him until hes at home. She surprises him there, demanding answers. They start to fight and she shoots him. Then she starts to rummage through the flat to find some hint about Tommy’s location.

She finds nothing, but a little while later, a woman carrying groceries comes by looking for Miguel. On a whim, Julia follows her to an almost completely ruined apartment building. There she finds Santos and a friend of his, who have Tommy.

Santos and his colleague scream at her in Spanish and threaten to kill her. Santos asks her how she found him and she tells him that Diego told her, where they were.

Julia gets locked in with Tommy, promising him that she will get them out of there.

A short while later, Diego shows up. He works with Santos and says that Julia lies, he hasn’t told her anything. Santos doesnt believe him and finally shoots him.

Santos friend leaves and Julia talks Santos into going with her and Tommy to the airport, where she would give him $1 million.

Before they can get very far, though, Santos’s friend shows up again. Mitch calls Julia and Santos overhears him talking about $2 million. He demands everything from Julia. His friend takes Tommy with him and Santos drops off Julia at a car.

She drives to the airport, meets Mitch, who gives her the money and tells her that hell be waiting at the airport hotel for Tommy.

Julia drives back and meets Santos. She tells him that she’s not Tommy’s mother, but that she kidnapped him herself and that she would give him $1 million to get the boy back. If he doesn’t agree, she says, then he can shoot Tommy, she doesn’t care.

Santos agrees. They meet in the evening on two sides of a major, heavily traveled highway.

Santos runs over to Julia, she gives him the money and he tells his friend to let Tommy go. But Tommy gets stuck in the middle of the road. When Julia tries to get him, she loses her gun and Santos takes his chance.

He demands the other $1 million or he will shoot they boy. Julia tells him that the money is in the car and he and his friend take off, leaving them stranded in the middle of the road.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Allen Bain known as co-producer: 7th Floor
  • Jeremy Burdek known as executive producer
  • Bertrand Faivre known as producer
  • Cathy Gesualdo known as line producer: Los Angeles
  • Nadia Khamlichi known as executive producer
  • Jacqueline Louis known as line producer: Saga Film
  • François Marquis known as producer
  • Jean-Jacques Neira known as co-producer: Saga Film
  • Adrian Politowski known as executive producer
  • Jesse Scolaro known as co-producer: 7th Floor
  • Sandra Solares known as co-producer: Jaibol Films
  • Hubert Toint known as co-producer: Saga Film

FullCast & Crew:

  • Tilda Swinton known as Julia
  • Saul Rubinek known as Mitch
  • Kate del Castillo known as Elena
  • Aidan Gould known as Tom
  • Jude Ciccolella known as Nick
  • Bruno Bichir known as Diego
  • Horacio Garcia Rojas known as Santos
  • Mauricio Moreno known as José
  • Gaston Peterson known as Miguel (as Gastón Peterson)
  • Kevin Kilner known as Johnny
  • John Bellucci known as Phillip
  • Ezra Buzzington known as George
  • Roger Cudney known as Frank
  • Eugene Byrd known as Leon
  • Sandro Kopp known as Marcus
  • M.J. Karmi known as AA Woman (as MJ Karmi)
  • Carl Dillard known as Henry AA (as Carl Dudley Dillard)
  • Ken Davitian known as Taxi Driver
  • Hiep Thi Le known as Kitty
  • Jim Leske known as Motel Clerk
  • Muriel Ricard known as Journalist
  • Tania Verafield known as Cleaning Lady
  • Atzinga known as Carmen
  • Nadiedka known as Carena
  • Mariana Elías known as Raphaella
  • Robert Amico known as Detective (uncredited)
  • Sally Berman known as Woman by Car (uncredited)
  • Dave Gist known as Fat Train Station Guy (uncredited)
  • Priscilla Leona Horne known as Woman In Station (uncredited)
  • Jake Koenig known as Bartender (uncredited)
  • Camille Natta known as Karen (uncredited)
  • Neko Parham known as Ejay (uncredited)
  • Tom Poole known as Detective (uncredited)
  • Ian Ray known as Undercover Agent #1 (uncredited)
  • Marshal Silverman known as Commuter (uncredited)
  • Ursula Tania known as Cooker (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Tamami Ito known as key hair stylist
  • Sandra Miguell known as key makeup artist (as Sandra Miguelli)
  • Mariana Miranda known as makeup assistant
  • Roz Music known as makeup artist: Los Angeles
  • Pamela Neil known as hair stylist: Miss Swinton

Art Department:

  • Michael Keith Aleshire-Rezendez known as set dresser: Los Angeles (as Keith Aleshire)
  • Daniel Alvarado known as carpenter (as Daniel Alvárado)
  • Victor Bernal known as carpenter
  • Martín Bolaños known as property master assistant (as Martin Bolanos)
  • Jorge Borja known as set decoration assistant
  • Tom Bry known as on-set dresser: Los Angeles
  • Octavio Caballero known as swing
  • Mario Camacho known as painter
  • Arnulfo Castillo known as carpenter
  • Ricardo Chavez known as head carpenter (as Ricardo Chávez)
  • Gilberto Cortes known as property master (as Gilberto Cortés)
  • Javier Cortes known as buyer (as Javier Cortés)
  • Gabriel Cortés known as construction coordinator
  • Samuel Daza known as construction coordinator
  • Roger Dertinger known as property master: Los Angeles
  • Oswaldo Diaz known as blacksmith
  • Luis Escobar known as carpenter (as Luís Escobar)
  • Marco A. Esquivel known as carpenter
  • Adalberto Flores known as swing
  • Bernado Flores known as swing
  • Aarón García known as painter
  • Adán García known as lead painter (as Adan Garcia)
  • Héctor Velazco Guzmán known as painter (as Héctor Velasco)
  • Ricardo Holguin known as swing
  • Dorit Hurst known as set decorator: Los Angeles (as Dorit Oberman)
  • Sandra Jalife known as trainee
  • Ignacio Jiménez Trejo known as carpenter (as Ignacio Jiménez)
  • Naolín Jiménez known as assistant set dresser (as Naolin Jiménez)
  • Paul Kurdys known as props assistant: Los Angeles
  • Carlos Lagunas known as art coordinator
  • Jorge Lechuga known as painter
  • Hector Lemus known as swing
  • Guy Lionel known as head painter (as Lionel Guy)
  • Heráclito Lopez known as graphic designer
  • Eduardo Madrigal known as swing
  • Raúl Mena known as painter
  • Francisco Mercado Urbina known as carpenter (as Francisco Mercado)
  • Brian Nabours known as set dresser: Los Angeles
  • Dennis Ogle known as lead man: Los Angeles
  • Abel Ortiz known as blacksmith
  • Emiliano Paredes known as painter
  • Gabriel Pérez known as construction swing
  • Claudio Ramírez known as set dresser assistant
  • Pedro Ramírez known as carpenter
  • Daniela Rojas known as set dresser assistant
  • Gustavo Rosas known as swing
  • Renato Salcedo known as carpenter
  • Daniel Suarez known as swing
  • José Juan Sánchez known as painter
  • Daniel Tello known as swing
  • Julieta Torres known as painter
  • Alonso Velasco Guzman known as painter (as Alonso Velasco)
  • Mauricio Waldo known as on-set dresser
  • Erik Schindler known as set dresser (uncredited)


Production Companies:

  • Les Productions Bagheera (presents)
  • Le Bureau (presents)
  • France 3 Cinéma (in co-production with)
  • uFilm
  • Studio Canal (in co-production with)
  • 7th Floor, The (in co-production with)
  • Saga Film (I) (in co-production with)
  • Jaibol Films (in co-production with)
  • Canal+ (with the participation of)
  • France 3 (with the participation of)
  • Programme MEDIA de la Communauté Européenne (with the support of)

Other Companies:

  • Bravo Motion Picture Security  security: Los Angeles
  • Cast & Crew Catering  catering: Los Angeles (as Cast and Crew Catering)
  • Cineservice Inc.  editing sound studio
  • Cofiloisirs  financial services
  • Hugot & Associés  legal services
  • Neuflize  financial services
  • On Location Education  studio teachers: Los Angeles
  • Rich King Casting  extras casting: Los Angeles
  • Rubini & Associés  production insurance
  • Studio l'Équipe  sound equipment
  • uFund  funding


  • Atlantic Film (2009) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • Audio Visual Enterprises (2009) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • Chelsea Films (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Cinéart (2008) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • Cinéart (2008) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Frenetic Films (2008) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • Kinowelt Filmverleih (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Magnolia Pictures (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Studio Canal (2008) (France) (theatrical)
  • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2009) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
  • Magnolia Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
  • Mongrel Media (2010) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Twin Pics (200?) (Netherlands) (DVD)

..{tab=Other Stuff}Release Date:

  • Germany 9 February 2008 (Berlin International Film Festival)
  • France 12 March 2008
  • Belgium 7 May 2008
  • Germany 19 June 2008
  • India 10 August 2008
  • Netherlands 14 August 2008
  • Kuwait 21 August 2008
  • UK 20 September 2008 (Cambridge Film Festival)
  • Brazil 25 September 2008 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • USA 4 October 2008 (Woodstock Film Festival)
  • USA 17 October 2008 (Chicago International Film Festival)
  • USA 7 November 2008 (AFI Film Festival)
  • UK 23 November 2008 (Inverness Film Festival)
  • UK 5 December 2008
  • Spain 27 February 2009
  • Portugal 19 March 2009
  • USA 29 March 2009 (Sarasota Film Festival)
  • UK 27 April 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • USA 8 May 2009 (limited)
  • Austria 3 November 2009 (Vienna International Film Festival)

MPAA: Rated R for pervasive language, some violent content and brief nudity


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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