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Julie's Smile (2013)

A gentle, peaceful woman endures a harrowing journey into madness as she struggles for love and peace in this complex, psychological drama.


Eric Mattson


Eric Mattson




Cast overview, first billed only:
Stacie Barra ... Julie May Westman
Becky Crawford Becky Crawford ... Connie
Jimmy Shay Jimmy Shay ... Rude patron
Derek Braasch Derek Braasch ... Man on train / in painting
Mike Tragedy Mike Tragedy ... Goth man
Raven Hodge Raven Hodge ... Goth woman
Cristal Cepeda Cristal Cepeda ... Goth #1
Tiffany Lyons Tiffany Lyons ... Goth #2
Lizette Haro Lizette Haro ... Goth #3
Nichole Allen Nichole Allen ... Goth #4
Jessica Morrison Jessica Morrison ... Goth #5
Gina Prus Gina Prus ... Goth #6
Heather Greeze Heather Greeze ... Goth #7
Medusa s. X. Medusa s. X. ... Julie's goth admirer
Louise Trader Louise Trader ... Flower shop patron


Julie is a gentle, peaceful woman who would never hurt a fly. She would probably cry if she saw a fly get hurt. Julie is a poet, painter and lover of art. Always with her trademark smile, Julie loves the earth and all that grows from it. But darkness creeps into Julie's beautiful world. When things go bad and life gets dark, through her darkness, her love prevails. This film is a creative, mind-bending drama with strong acting and a surreal storyline. This is the feature film debut from writer/director Eric Mattson. Written by EZ's Plan Productions

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Take a walk with Julie.





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Release Date:

17 February 2013 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA


Box Office


$15,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


27 women auditioned for the lead role of Julie. See more »


Julie May Westman: I might be a little different, I think.
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Crazy Credits

I LOVE YOU! See more »

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User Reviews

great acting, unique story
15 April 2013 | by sea-film-seerSee all my reviews

"Julie's Smile" is a new independent film from writer/director Eric Mattson. The film is about a mentally disturbed young woman, Julie. On the surface Julie is a carefree artist who seems to love everything and everyone. But there is a darkness brewing deep inside Julie's psyche which slowly drives her into madness.

The character of Julie is brought to life with an amazing performance by Stacie Barra (one to watch out for). The best decision Mattson made was casting Barra in the lead role of his film. Barra is simply perfect in the role. She is in every single scene in the film. This is no easy task for any actor. Barra rises to the challenge with the strength, courage and, most importantly, complete fearlessness. Julie is a fully defined character. Barra brings out the deep seeded psychological problems the character has as well as her everyday ordinariness. She has a glow around her in the happy scenes and a danger in the dark scenes. There is an unforgettable scene where she breaks down crying hysterically which feels all too real. Not just any actor can pull off real emotion the way Barra does in this scene and in this film. She just nails this role. Nails it!

Stacie Barra is clearly the backbone of the film but "Julie's Smile" boasts a strong cast across the board. A. Monnie Aleahmad is very natural as the boyfriend. He is just right in bringing the sensitivity necessary for the type of person who would date Julie. Becky Crawford as the somewhat crazy, know-it-all, waitress is fall on the floor funny. But Crawford does not only provide comic relief she also provides serious, genuine protection and care for Julie when not many others seem to do the same.

This film is highly risky. Mattson breaks many rules in his approach to this film. He takes his time with his scenes and allows his characters to grow. He will go several minutes with no dialog. Mattson loves to watch his characters and wants everyone else to do so also. He refuses to acknowledge what is in reality or what is going on in Julie's disturbed mind. He has plenty of ambiguity which is something you don't see too often in film. One thing I liked about the symbolism is he allows the audience to decide what it all means. He is not cramming his ideas or any agendas down anyone's throat. He does not preach. He lets the film speak for itself and lets the audience think for themselves. For which I was grateful. It was almost like a sigh of relief. The risks Mattson takes pay off but this is not a film for everyone. I do feel the art house audiences will love it but your impatient, close minded, action obsessed audiences will not. This is a film you have to think about while you watch. It's an "outside the box" type of film. There is a little bit of everything here. There is drama, romance, comedy, and sometimes it's even a little frightening. More than once the film gave me a jump.

The film also has an outstanding score from Matt Teichler to help guide the way. Speaking of which, the brilliant music is probably the second strongest part of this film after Barra's incredible performance. Teichler's score enhances the mental breakdown Julie endures and it helps take the audience with her. It is subtle when it needs to be and almost chaotic at certain times. But it all seemed to fit the film perfectly.

Near the end of the film there is a sequence where Julie is walking through the woods and comes across a man at a typewriter. They have a brief conversation about life and the truth. It is a subtle yet brilliantly surreal. Also the scene sums up the film in its own weird way. During the scene (and most of the film for that matter) I felt a David Lynch influence. This was made abundantly clear during the closing credits…Mattson dedicated the film to Lynch.

Overall I found Julie's Smile to be an outstanding artistic expression. This is by no means a big budget film. But Mattson and his cast have proved they can hold their own against any filmmaker working today…whether it's a big budget film or an independent film. This film was low on money but high on talent. I'll keep those involved in this film on the lookout in the future. It was a refreshing change from your normal run of the mill movie. Obviously Mattson set out to do something different…and he succeeded. This is a case of a unique director's vision and the right actors to bring that vision to life.

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