Julia Lofting (Mia Farrow, Hannah and Her Sisters), an affluent American wife and mother living in England, loses her only child in a freak accident. Inconsolable after the tragedy, Julia is quickly institutionalized. When she’s discharged, Julia decides to leave her husband (Keir Dullea, 2001: A Space Odyssey) and start fresh in another town. She buys a spacious house and begins to plan for the future. After hosting a séance in her new home, Julia suspects that the spirit of her late daughter has returned.
Reaction & Thoughts:
Intriguing, chilling, well-directed supernatural thriller, without cheap scare tactics or technical gimmicks, and a wonderful touch of ambivalence — is Julia imagining things? Has her daughter really comeback from the death? Or, maybe there is a third explanation. British director Richard Loncraine (The Gathering Storm) allows the story to unfold on its own, mostly relying on a superb performance by Mia Farrow.
This terrific adaptation of Peter Straub’s novel provides Farrow with one of her very best roles. Today, Rosemary’s Baby is an acknowledged tour-de-force for the actor, one of the greatest performances in a horror film, while The Haunting of Julia (aka Full Circle) is rarely mentioned, even by Farrow’s fans and/or horror aficionados. Most people would rank any of Farrow’s work for Woody Allen second in her long filmography. That being said, the film is a great example of Farrow’s range. She hits all the right notes in a highly demanding role.
In addition to Farrow and Dullea, the cast includes Tom Conti (Reuben, Reuben), Jill Bennett (The Nanny), Anna Wing (Xtro), and in one of her last roles, Cathleen Nesbitt (An Affair to Remember) as Ms. Rudge. Wing is particularly effective as a psychic. Actor-turned-Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes (Godsford Park) makes his film debut as a librarian.
Colin Towns’s music score gets under your skin. It’s hard to believe that this his first film score. Peter Hannan’s sophisticated camera work is also worthy of praise — Hannan’s work needs to be seen in its original widescreen aspect ratio to be fully appreciated, though.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
It’s too bad that the film has not been released on DVD in USA. The Haunting of Julia deserves to be better known — it’s definitely one of my favorite paranormal movies. Color, 98 minutes, Rated R.