August Strindberg's once-controversial play is brought to the screen in this adaptation directed and co-written by Mike Figgis. Miss Julie is set on the estate of a wealthy Swedish family in 1894, where the servants live a life of uncomfortable poverty while the masters of the house enjoy their riches. On Midsummer's Eve, the servants and the local peasants have gathered for their traditional celebration, while one of the household cooks, Christine (Maria Doyle Kennedy), is waiting for her fiancé, a footman named Jean (Peter Mullan). However, Jean is intercepted by Miss Julie (Saffron Burrows), whose family owns the estate (and pays Jean's salary). She instructs Jean to change into a formal suit (which Miss Julie has borrowed from her father) and dance with her. Jean has little choice but to accept, and he finds himself slipping into an affair that both questions and affirms the traditional relationship between mistress and servant. This was the third screen translation of Miss Julie, following versions released in 1951 and 1972; it was also Figgis's second film of 1999, following the release of his experimental feature The Loss of Sexual Innocence.
by Mark Deming synopsis