Billy Elliot (2000)
It’s a British film classic that makes even the hardest-nosed film fans fall in love with ballet and had plenty of us pirouetting around the living room within minutes. Here, Julie plays Mrs Wilkinson, the rough-around-the-edges ballet teacher who’s determined to see Billy succeed in his dream to become a dancer, even when the odds from his home life seem stacked against him. Set in 1984 Newcastle, it paints a picture of the violent strikes against Margaret Thatcher’s closure of the coalmines as Billy is torn between his love of dance and his struggles at home.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
We have an inkling that Julie had a ridiculous amount of fun playing the wise-cracking, cocktail-sipping best friend, Rosie, to Meryl Streep’s character Donna in box-office boomer, Mamma Mia. A film adaptation of the hugely successful West End show that brings the songs of ABBA to life, it had most of us dancing in the cinema aisles to all of our favourite hits, including Super Trouper where Julie and co. sported some rather fetching Lycra flares we’d love to get our hands on. Unsurprisingly, Julie was the big comic touch of the film (not counting Pierce Brosnan’s singing).
Calendar Girls (2003)
“We’re going to need considerably bigger buns!” Calendar Girls was a bit of a surprise hit for Julie as she showed off her vulnerable side as the passionate, loving wife, Annie, who’s recently deceased husband becomes the inspiration for a saucy new calendar, created by the ladies of the WI. Quietly moving and full of courageous spirit, we loved the wonderful performance Julie brought to this gem of British comedy.
Harry Potter (Films 1-8, 2001-2011)
Undeniably the biggest role of her illustrious career, here Julie played up her motherly side as she took on the role of Molly, mum to Harry Potter’s favourite family; The Weasleys. Thankfully, Julie was cast in every single instalment of the film, making her one of only a handful of adult actors to do so.
Pixar have always been fabulous at casting just the right voice actor for their animated films and the makers of Brave certainly hit on a great idea by using Julie to play the wicked witch. Joining a cast including Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Craig Ferguson, Julie helped tell the story of a royal Celtic family whose daughter Merida runs away from home after being forced into an arranged marriage. Julie’s character helps out by agreeing to change Merida’s mother by baking an enchanted cake for her to eat... however the ‘change’ is not exactly what’s expected.
Victoria Wood’s comedy series about workers in a factory canteen is a British cult favourite and it’s no wonder she enlisted the help of her good friend Julie for possibly her funniest role to date. Playing Victoria’s chaotic mother Petula, Julie mixes slapstick humour with her trade-mark quick witted punch lines, bringing to life this hilarious middle-aged drunk. Dinnerladies opted for quality over quantity with only two series, and remains a favourite with Brits everywhere, most definitely including us!
Educating Rita (1983)
Staring opposite an already established Michael Caine, it was Julie’s touching and triumphant 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 DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD on Monday February 29, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.