Julie Walters retrospective
Julie Walters plays Mrs Keogh in the cinematic adaptation of Colm Tôibín’s award winning novel Brooklyn. The story follows Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) as she leaves her life in Ireland behind to pursue the American Dream. Whilst there, Eilis falls in love with Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen). Unfortunately, due to unforeseeable events she is forced to move back to Ireland where she falls for Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) and is left wondering whether or not to return to the states. In celebration of John Crowley’s BAFTA winning and Academy Award® nominated film arriving on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD from the 29th of February courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment we take a look at Julie Walters’ finest roles in other films.
Billy Elliot (2000)
A British film classic that makes even the hardest-nosed film fans fall in love with its main subject matter; ballet. Walter’s character Mrs Wilkinson is determined to see Billy succeed in his new-found dream to become a ballet dancer, even when the odds from his home life seem stacked against him. Billy Elliot is set in 1984 Newcastle during the violent strikes against Margaret Thatcher’s closure of the coal mines, with Billy becoming torn between his love of dance and his struggles at home.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Mamma Mia was a rare film adaptation of the stage show which uses ABBA songs to tell the story of soon-to-be bride (Amanda Seyfried), her mother and her three possible fathers played respectively by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård. Walters plays Meryl Streep’s wise-cracking cocktail-sipping best friend, and serves as the key comic influence on the film (not counting Brosnan’s singing), whilst also giving it her all with some huge musical numbers.
Calendar Girls (2003)
In Calendar Girls, a surprise hit for Julie, she utilises her ability to become everyone’s favourite British everywoman; passionate, chip-loving and with a clear discomfort with nudity, at least initially. The film is known for its now famous tale of a group of middle-age women who decide to pose nude for their annual calendar to help raise money for the local hospital. Walters plays Annie, whose recently deceased husband’s speech for the Women’s Institute inspires his wife and her friends to make the saucy calendar.
Harry Potter (Films 1-8, 2001-2011)
Undeniably the biggest role of her illustrious career, Walters plays Molly, the mother of Harry Potter’s favourite family; The Weasleys. The Harry Potter books, written by J.K. Rowling became an overnight world-wide phenomenon and a film franchise was quickly put into works with Julie being cast in every single instalment, making her one of only a handful of adult actors to do so. Through the series Harry and his friends learn the ways of wizardry whilst also finding themselves at the centre of a battle between good and evil in the world of magic.
Pixar have always been very astute at casting voice actors for their visually and thematically animated films and Brave is no different. Using a host of British talent including Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Craig Ferguson, the story focuses on a royal Celtic family whose daughter Merida runs away from home after being forced into an arranged marriage against her will. Walters plays the wicked witch who agrees to change Merida’s mother by baking an enchanted cake for her to eat… however the ‘change’ is not exactly what is expected.
Victoria Wood’s comedy series about workers in a factory canteen is a British cult favourite and she enlisted the help of her good friend Walters for possibly her funniest role to date. Playing Wood’s chaotic mother Petula, Walters approaches the role with deliberate slapstick humour pared with her trade-mark quick witted punch lines. Walters brings this character to life as a hilarious middle-aged drunk, that in other hands could have been seen as dark and unlikeable. Dinnerladies opted for quality over quantity with only 2 series, and remains a favourite with Brits everywhere.
Educating Rita (1983)
Going back to the 1980’s now with Julia’s breakout performance as the titular character in Educating Rita. Staring opposite an already established Michael Caine, it was Walters’ performance as a woman who decides to complete her education by finishing her exams that really caught the eye of the British public. While doing so she meets a professor (Caine) who encourages her to believe in herself and her own insights. The film is an adaptation of a stage play set entirely in the office of a University lecturer, and received rave reviews upon its release.
BROOKLYN arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on Monday February 29th, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.