Julianna
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Rating: 3.4/5 (3 votes cast)

Julianna

After her 14-year-old daughter’s suicidal, a desperate mother finds out the promiscuous life the teen was living on the internet and tries to take revenge on her friends blaming them for her downfall.

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  1. Profile photo of AdamRBradley
    January 17, 2014, 7:09 pm
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    I concur with the other remarks above, and I want to highlight what I think the central problem is: in the author’s note at the end, she says “The idea was to write a thriller within closed doors.” All well and good.

    But then she talks about the desire to explore the theme of the generation gap, and a mother trying to understand the reasons that pushed her daughter to commit suicide, to the point where she loses control of her own limits.

    Those two elements rest in an uneasy and unfulfilling relationship in this draft of the script – we don’t spend enough time with Catherine as she explores skin parties to understand how her exploration of that underworld causes her to lose control, but we don’t spend enough time “behind closed doors” for this to be a revenge-thriller.

    An example of a movie that explores this brilliantly is “Prisoners”: we see how a tragedy (the loss of a child) causes an ordinarily good man to lose control and become a monster. But that film takes its time, taking place over weeks, letting us see him slowly turn into a savage beast.

    For “Julianna” to really work for me, it should focus on one of these aspects: either have almost the entire action take place in the apartment as we watch Catherine be forced into more and more savage acts in order to satisfy her need for revenge; or take place almost entirely within the skin party world as we watch her try to understand Julianna and get sucked further and further into her own depravity.

    I think the second story could be brilliantly compelling, and would offer an incredible role for a middle-aged woman, something sorely lacking in cinema these days.

    Smaller issues:
    – Catherine doesn’t suffer any kind of real-world consequences for her torture of Alice and Matt. This strikes me as completely implausible. It seems to me that any reasonable detective would be able to unravel her story in a few minutes, and would find all kinds of physical evidence that contradicts her story.
    – I don’t understand why the story’s set in Boston. I know people from Boston, and they don’t sound the way these characters do. Moreover, they’re very proud of their town – if you set a film in Boston, you better make sure you’ve got a really good reason for doing so.
    – There are all kinds of formatting and spelling errors. Way too many to mention.

    As one of the reviewers above said, there’s a great concept here, but I think this script needs a page-1 rewrite before it’s ready to be shown to anyone serious about making it into a film.

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  2. Pearse-N says
    January 16, 2014, 5:33 am
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    The concept is very strong. However, I reckon if the screenplay was optioned tomorrow (on the basis of the core narrative) the final, on-screen version wouldn’t much resemble what’s on paper today. While this could be said of the majority of first drafts, I do think the core issues (ie: dialogue and characterisation) need root-and-branch revision.

    That said, this isn’t a “doomsday” review. The stand out element in Julianna is the concept, which feels genuinely saleable. There’s a ton of writers out there who burp out dialogue for breakfast but couldn’t come up with a refreshing story angle if their life depended on it.

    Brought to the marketplace with all the right noises, I’ve no doubt the Julianna concept would whet the appetite of many a bright-eyed indie.

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  3. Profile photo of Dot1.618
    Dot1.618 says
    January 15, 2014, 5:33 am
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    Julianna is a great concept. The script needs another polish and could do with streamlining, particulary the action/descriptions. For me, it also needs more characterisation, some of Catherine’s reactions need more building up too. We also need to see her struggling with those choices to make it believable. The ending scene between Alice and Matt could be trimmed down. Implying what should happen could be stronger than just showing it. In terms of formatting, it does need to be formatted accordingly industry guidelines and there’s a typos and repetitions. But overall I liked it and believe that with a bit more work Julianna could become a mesmerising script.

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