Julie Christie: Beyond pretty and clever

Julie Christie
thinks she has never been that pretty or clever. And, I must say, I’m
inclined to agree with her. It’s true: Julie Christie isn’t pretty
or clever. No, Julie Christie is beautiful and brilliant.

The Oscar-nominated actress
recently gave a fascinating and free-flowing interview with the U.K. Telegraph. She discussed everything
from her phenomenal performance in Away From Her to her aversion
to celebrity and her passion for social activism. Though, if Christie had
her way, she wouldn’t be in the news at all: “All these paragraphs
about stupid old me — when there’s a war going on!”

In Away From Her,
Christie gave a singular performance, rare both in its quality and its
very existence. Since becoming the iconic face of the ’60s, Christie
retired herself from the Hollywood scene in the late ’70s. While she
still acted, she reemerged mostly in smaller roles by design. “It’s
not my taste, being a film star,” she said. “It’s nothing I’ve
ever longed for or admired.”

Instead of giving interviews
or acceptance speeches, Christie would much rather work against
rendition and torture, global warming and the so-called War on Terror.
While celebrity causes are a dime a dozen these days, what makes Christie’s
activism so interesting is that it seems not only organic, but also completely
un-showy. I mean, lots of stars have a have a hybrid car they tool around
town in, but how many of them cut up newspapers and give them to their
guests as toilet paper? I am a little relieved, however, to hear that
she relented when her friends kept complaining about the ink on their

So what, then, could lure Christie
back into the limelight? Canadian actress and first-time director
Sarah Polley
, who adapted Away From Her
with the British star specifically in mind — that’s what. In fact, Christie
gave L.A. Weekly an intriguing
about their
relationship that will surely make all her gay fans, me included, go

“I hope Sarah doesn’t mind me saying this, but I think you
might say we developed a crush on each other. I was very flattered when
she asked me to do it.”

Well, that certainly makes me go


Also making me go ahhhh!
is Christie’s effortless self-deprecation. She joked about fitting
into her Oscar outfit (“should I have the potatoes, or not?”) and
even confessed her inability to enjoy her own beauty:

“I think I’m probably so
vain it’s quite impossible. But I look back now and I see photos and
I think, ‘Coo! Phwoar!’ And I think, wouldn’t it have been nice
to have had that knowledge when you were walking into a room?”

So true. Wouldn’t it be nice
if we all knew how lovely we really are? And at age 66, Christie is
as lovely as ever. Still sexy yet refined, still brash yet delicate.
Forty years after she became the face of a generation, there may be more
wrinkles and more gray, but true beauty and brilliance lasts forever.