Jules follows Milton (Ben Kingsley) who lives a quiet life of routine in a small western Pennsylvania town, but finds his day upended when a UFO and its extra-terrestrial passenger crash land in his backyard. Before long, Milton develops a close relationship with the extra-terrestrial he calls “Jules.” Things become complicated when two neighbors (Harris and Curtin) discover Jules and the government quickly closes in. What follows is a funny, wildly inventive ride as the three neighbors find meaning and connection later in life – thanks to this unlikely stranger.
Jules is an E.T. for the senior set.
The mute adorable and androgynous looking Alien crash lands into Octogenarian Milton’s (Ben Kingsley) backyard, on a day when everyone in this small suburb is doubting his sanity. The one thing Milton is worried about this close encounter- the health of his azalea bushes. Eventually he strikes up a friendship with the E.T., naming him Jules. Two other lonely senior ladies, Sandy and Joyce (Jane Curtin and Harriet Samson Harris) both Milton admirers, form a mutual admiration alien protection society to keep Jules safe from other doubters and government suspicion.
Without sympathy for these old folks Jules would never work as well as it does. You want them to triumph over their infirmities, coming dementia, their desire for unassisted independence from well-meaning family. Ben Kingsley layers dignity, kindness, and empathy for the hurting world into his Milton. Curtin finds new levels of empathy for a major stereotype- the garrulous old cat lady. The same for Harris playing the pining old widow. All three of them are reminded of the importance of companionship in their lives, and how isolation in their old age has made each of them desperately cling to what little they have left.
The director Marc Turtletaub tries to keep the campier element to a minimum. This is a heart light flick. Everything is delivered with a quaint and light touch and understated humor. He wants these people and this alien someone you have a good cup of hot chocolate with.
Jules gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.
- March 22, 2023(Sonoma)
- August 11, 2023(United States)