I hate movies like "Julia." The acting is so well done that I'm forced to actually pay attention to the movie's plot. And I hate stories like "Julia."
I don't hate the story about falling-down alcoholic reaches rock bottom and has to make a change. I don't hate the story about slightly-psychotic mother trying to get her kid back. What I hate is incompetent criminality.
How do you lose a gun in the middle of the road? Julia was obviously an idiot, but that much? Why would you bring the other million with you for the hand-off? Who trusts an over-friendly local enough to sleep with him (and subsequently lose your bounty (the kid) while you are sleeping off a hang-over)? I thought for a moment I was going to like her when she blew Miguel away. After that she was a raging idiot, pure and simple. I almost don't even care that things work out for her and Tom.
Boy though, I'll bet that if Tilda Swinton hadn't won an Oscar the year before for "Michael Clayton," she might have been nominated for "Julia." Powerful stuff. I especially thought her portrayal of drunk Julia (pre-kidnapping) was top-notch. I could genuinely feel her hitting rock-bottom.
And I will say this about the film - several times during the film I caught myself making sure my little girl was still playing in her room. Of course, if needed (god forbid...), I hope that I would have the mental fortitude and skill-set to approach the situation less like Julia Harris, and more like Brian Mills (Liam Neeson) in "Taken."