Julie Johnson

Director: Bob Gosse
Screenwriters: Bob Gosse, Wendy Hammond

Institute History


What happens when a person finds the courage to follow a desire antithetical to the expectations of the community that defines them? How do they maintain once their actions decimate notions of home, family, and friends? In this adaptation of Wendy Hammond's play, Julie Johnson, director Bob Gosse takes on these issues with endearing grace.

A resident of the conservative, working-class town of Hoboken, New Jersey, Julie Johnson (Lili Taylor) is a good woman who lives a good life. She is a dutiful wife and a caring mother with a tight-knit social circle; her best friend Claire (Courtney Love), has been by her side since high school. But away from public view, Julie nurtures a secret passion: theoretical physics. Every chance she gets, she buys the latest Scientific American and hides it in the cupboard. Although lacking a high school diploma, she is happiest pondering scientific questions, but terrified that her husband and friends will discover her desire and ostracize her. When she receives a flyer advertising GED and computer courses at Hoboken High School Adult Learning Center, Julie is plunged into paralyzing fear knowing her day of reckoning has come. Sure enough, enrolling in the program sends seismic waves through her existence and alters in the most unlikely ways her home life, her friendships, and her love life.

Julie Johnson sheds light on what can happen when you do what should be a very simple thing—chase your potential. With no political movement or organized following, Julie Johnson is a heroine for anyone who finds themselves alone with a desire to grow beyond society's constrictions.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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