“Jules” is the brainchild of filmmaker Marc Turtletaub, who dedicated the film to his father, and writer Gavin Steckler who is known for Playing House and Review. The story follows an elderly man Milton whose quiet life in rural Pennsylvania is upended when a UFO (Jules) crashes in his backyard. He befriends the extraterrestrial creature that emerges from the wreckage, feeds them with apples and watches Judge Judy with him. However, things take a turn for the complicated when two of his neighbors discover the alien and the government begins to close in.
From the opening scene, “Jules” sets a perfectly even pace, blending in music and visual cues that create a seamless and cohesive viewing experience. The film’s unique take on the alien genre is refreshing and unexpected, with the extraterrestrial character (Narea Kang) portrayed with a blend of humor and humanity that is sure to win over audiences.
The plot is a mixture of humor and heart, with a gentle pace and tone that allows the characters to develop organically and the story to unfold in a natural way. Turtletaub’s direction is assured and confident, and he handles the delicate balance between comedy and drama with a light touch that never feels heavy-handed.
But the real star of the show is the legendary Ben Kingsley, who delivers a masterful performance as Milton. His comedic timing is impeccable, and even though his character is an obstinate, complicated, grumpy elderly man, he manages to add much human warmth and empathy to him. The rest of the cast is equally talented, with each actor bringing a unique energy and charm to their roles. This trio of Kingsley, Harriet Sanson Harris („Sandy”) and Jane Curtin („Joyce”) could perform the phone book and I bet you’d still like it. They are all wonderful actors who deserve every opportunity to shine.
The production design (Richard Hoover) and costumes (Stacy Jansen) are also worth noting, with every detail feeling carefully chosen to reflect the characters’ bohemian, quirky personalities and the themes of the story. Look out for the „dead cat” scene, which is an absurd, comedic detour.
One of the most poignant themes of “Jules” is its exploration of aging and Alzheimer’s. As the characters interact with the alien, they are forced to confront their own mortality and the ways in which time has changed them. The film handles these themes with sensitivity and grace, never feeling heavy-handed or preachy. Jules makes these elderly people go back to feeling young and capable again. His biggest secret is simple: they start loving him because he listens.
Overall, “Jules” is a beautiful and heartfelt film that pays homage to the filmmaker’s father and turns his personal pain into a universal message of love and acceptance. The film’s exploration of aging, time, and self-discovery is both heart-wrenching and uplifting, and its gentle humor makes it a joy to watch from beginning to end.
You can watch „Jules” on Showtime, Paramount+ or AppleTV.
~ by Dora Endre ~