Courtesy Bleecker Street

Movie Review: Jules

07:10 August 14, 2023
By: Fritz Esker

The elderly small-town widower Milton (Ben Kingsley) has an alien spaceship crash in his backyard in the low-key comedy Jules.

Milton is the type of old man who goes to city council meetings regularly to hash out the same complaints. He has one adult daughter he speaks to, but who's worried about his ability to care for himself. He also has an estranged son out of town and no real friends to speak of.

The spaceship crashes, and Milton nurses the injured alien back to health. The alien (eventually named Jules) is clearly neither stupid nor oblivious, but it does not talk and simply looks at Milton with an impassive stare. This leads Milton to use him as a sounding board. Two other old women from the town (Jane Curtin and Harriet Sansom Harris) discover what Milton is hiding and also end up baring their souls to Jules as well.

It's hard to categorize Jules. There are laughs, but the film is a bit too sad to be categorized solely as comedy. Thematically, its main concern is the loneliness and vulnerability of the elderly, not exactly the lightest of topics. That subject matter is handled compassionately and the story's conclusion is pretty moving. Director Marc Turtletaub and writer Gavin Steckler's film manages to create a real relationship between the alien and the three human leads (who all turn in good performances) even though the alien does not speak.

If you're looking for something a little different from normal summer fare, get out of the excruciating August New Orleans heat and check out Jules.

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