Coming to theatres from director Marc Turtletaub and Bleecker Street is the story of outer space and inner emotions all brought on by JULES.
Milton (Ben Kingsley) is a local elderly man who lives life on his own terms. Going to city council meetings to making sure his street and city name suggestions are heard, he spends his days in routine. Daughter Denise (Zoe Winters) stops by occasionally to see how Milton is up to. Also, neighbor Sandy (Harriet Sansom Harris) enjoys her moments with Milton although he seems oblivious.
One fine day, Milton’s routine is interrupted by the crash landing of a space ship in his beloved garden. He is surprised finding a small alien who is hurt and makes himself comfortable on the porch and then inside Milton’s house. Deciding to try and help, Milton discovers that his unofficial roommate likes apples. He tries to tell daughter Denise about it all but she is convinced that her father’s medical issues are more severe than she thought.
Sandy gets wind of his story about an alien in his garden and stops by to discover for herself and she is instantly smitten. So much so that it is given the name Jules. Milton and Sandy decide it is best to keep Jules a secret or, according to Sandy, those in power will do horrible things to Jules.
Wondering what is happening at Milton’s house is nosy neighbor Joyce (Jane Curtin) who also catches on and decides it is better to stay quiet. Their job now is to help Jules fix the broken spacecraft so that he can get away but Jules needs something quite unique to make that happen.
But time is not on their side as eyes and ears are looking for Jules!
Kingsley as Milton is stunning beyond measure. Portraying a widower who passes his time mainly alone, it is clear there is something more happening. With the arrival of Jules, he is intrigued by the greenish/blue friend and sees quite clearly the need to help him get away as soon as possible. That being said, Kingsley’s portrayal is also that of a man who discovers that past issues are still present in his life and friendships are important. Milton is a lovely man at heart and Kingsley makes it happen.
Harris as Sandy clearly cares for Milton and becomes concerned when she hears about what happened at his home. The connection she makes with Jules is that of a woman who has a lot on her mind and no one to share it with. Naming Jules is her way of making a beautiful connection and, importantly, someone to cook for again. Harris is so charming from start to finish.
Curtin as Joyce is the female version of Milton with her open opinion on any matter in front of her with the added uncaring of what anyone else thinks. She also finds herself drawn to Jules (who she calls Gary) and opens up about what is happening in her life. When the time comes for them to part, Curtin’s Joyce shows a side that no one else has been privy too. These three actors combined make one heck of an elderly person!
Jade Quon plays the very quiet character of Jules. Even though Jules doesn’t have a lot to say, shim (she-him) is an amazing listener and has eyes full of compassion. As the days pass, the connection with Milton, Sandy and Joyce becomes moving enough that even Jules cannot help but feel the pull of humanness.
Other cast include Anna George as Dr. North, Donald Paul as Agent Mann, Blair Baker as Diane Strauss, Eric T. Miller as Tim, Teddy Canez as Mayor Martinez and Cody Kostro as Danny.
Bleecker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.
JULES is such a love story on so many levels. Starting with Milton who is dealing with being a widow, a daughter that can be a tad over protective and a strained relationship with his son, this character finds solace in himself so as to not have to cater to an emotional life. Jules not only shakes the ground of his garden but the foundation of Milton’s life. There is something pretty cool about that happening because what Milton thought was a life inevitable turns into a life of surprising change.
Harris and Curtin offer up their opinions on Jules and are amazing side-kicks for Milton. Seeing Kingsley with these two fine actresses opposite and alien could have been awkwardly done but Turtletaub directs with a big heart and very gentle hands. Of course, this is a story about being people of a certain age and it seems Jules was okay with that, but it is also a story of connection and a life-history that the three humans share.
Jules shimself is sweet, attentive and, yes, slightly alien-ish but in a way that is protective and caring. I refuse to give anything away regarding this awesome alien but know that I wouldn’t mind a crash landing in my garden. Let’s just say I was charmed beyond belief and absolutely adored the ending that almost made me cry and THAT, my friends, is hard to do!
In the end – you won’t believe what just crashed into Milton’s azaleas!