The new Ben Kingsley movie is a pleasant surprise. Jules is perfectly sentimental and punctuated with a sci-fi twist that makes it engaging and unique but still poignant. Jules film follows Milton, a young, sorry-looking old man who lives by himself. Milton’s small town in Pennsylvania has a slogan that he doesn’t quite approve of because it sounds like you can call the town with a phone rather than just “call” it home. Milton’s second big issue with the town is that the crossing to his home is an accident-prone area, and the council should do something to fix that. Weekly, the townspeople meet, and Milton repeats himself at the council meetings about these two major issues. You see, Milton doesn’t really have anything else to keep him busy. His daughter’s a vet with no time to spend with him, and he’s estranged from his son. Milton is simply a lonely old man until, one day, a spaceship lands in his backyard.
What Happens in the Film?
Milton immediately calls the police because the spaceship has landed on his azaleas. The plants he worked hard to grow were crushed in mere seconds. The operator thinks he’s pranking them and hangs up on him. Milton doesn’t have anything else to do, so he goes back to sleep. In the next meeting, he mentions the alien and his spaceship, along with the crosswalk and the town’s slogan. Again, nobody believes him, and Joyce, another oldie of the town, tells him to stop spewing nonsense or the council will not take their requests seriously. That night, Milton finds an alien lying on his patio. He’s afraid at first, but then he becomes rather nonchalant about it because the alien doesn’t do him any harm. Milton lets the alien into his home and gives it food and water. The alien finds a liking for apples, and Milton runs to the grocery store to get more. He tells the helper there exactly what he’s doing. In return, the helper decides to relay this news to his daughter out of concern.
A few days in, and Sandy, another one of the neighborhood oldies, shows up at Milton’s doorstep to take some printouts. Milton lets her in with no qualms; like, seriously, this guy thinks he has a dog or something? Sandy is astonished at first, but she realizes she cannot miss this opportunity of a lifetime. But there’s one problem: Milton’s left things in the wrong place in the house, and his encounter with the grocery store guy has put him in soup with his daughter Denise. She makes him promise to go to a doctor’s appointment. It looks like Milton may be losing his memory slowly and moving towards dementia or Alzheimer’s of some kind. The doctor suggests he start looking for assisted living options, and he gets furious, calling Denise’s whole plan a setup. Milton gets Sandy to babysit the alien during his appointment, and she opens her heart out to this alien who doesn’t speak a word. She finds his eyes very understanding and even has a meltdown. Soon, Sandy starts to hang out with the alien and Milton. Milton also gets something to fill his empty days with because of this, and he’s much more jovial than his usual self.
Back home, a frustrated Milton tells Sandy everything is okay, but outside, he has a heart-to-heart with the alien while he’s working on fixing his spaceship. Throughout this time, the alien has been drawing cats and giving them to Milton, who thinks they’re a gift. Everything is going well, and Sandy even decides to give the alien a name and a t-shirt. Jules is the decided name, and one day, while they’re having dinner with Jules, Joyce comes by. With all the talk on the news about a satellite crash, she knows something is fishy and suddenly believes Milton. Now, the three of them unite for Jules because he’s a sweetheart, and they can’t have anyone or anything harm him.
One fateful day, Sandy gets a visit from a young man. She’s put up posters everywhere about conversations with the elderly, such as herself. It’s an experiment she’s trying out where young people can come to meet old people and take a dip in their pool of wisdom and experience. This guy, though, has other intentions, and he tries to steal some of Sandy’s jewelry. Sandy finds him and says she’s going to call the police. Disaster strikes, and it looks like the guy is going to choke her to death, but Jules can see Sandy is in danger and ends up exploding the man’s head. Sandy is interrogated by the police, but there’s no proof of anything. She returns to Milton’s home and thanks Jules for saving her life, telling the others what had happened.
As Joyce predicted, Jules is drawing cats because he needs them for his spaceship. But these cats have to be dead, so when the house starts smelling, the three of them see a dead cat outside. Milton and Sandy go looking for dead cats on the streets while they’re patrolled by a police car. There are suspicions that Sandy has had contact with the alien. Joyce finds some cats, too, but ultimately, they’re one cat short. Joyce has a cat of her own who is old, blind, and deaf. At first, when Milton suggests they kill Joyce’s cat, she refuses the idea, but later, she realizes it would be best for the cat. Jules doesn’t explode the cat’s head but shows it mercy.
Does Jules Return To His Home?
The cats are fuel for Jules’ spaceship, and through a silver sequin fabric that Jules uses to cover the cats, they become one fuel capsule (interesting). Jules is about to leave, but he offers them a place on the spaceship. Milton decides he’s going to go with Jules because he doesn’t want his daughter to see him get worse and worse. On the other hand, he has also tried to reconnect with his son, but he never called him back. Denise gives him a call and tells him that she wants to spend time with her dad and that she loves him. She didn’t mean to make him feel like he was going insane, but she was just worried. Milton rethinks what he’s doing, but he’s made up his mind. Before the other two can finish their goodbyes, the FBI agents show up at the door. Everyone gets on the spaceship, and Jules takes them to a safe spot on Earth so they can return home. On the short ride there, Milton decides to stay back, probably because of Denise’s words, and he says goodbye to his friend Jules.
Jules watches the three friends from a window in his spaceship. We then see Milton sometime later—it could be days or months—and his condition has deeply worsened. He does remember Jules, though, as we understand from his conversation with Sandy and Joyce. Jules’ presence forged a beautiful friendship between these three people, and now they support each other in their hard times. There’s some comfort in knowing that Milton is not alone anymore. But, of course, he truly misses his friend Jules.
Jules’ ending can be interpreted in different ways. The more positive interpretation could be that in the end, when Milton is alone at home, Jules comes to visit him, see his old friend, and chit-chat a little. But the more cynical view could be that Milton’s time is up, and as he’s leaving his body, he thinks the flashing lights are Jules’ spaceship. Ultimately, Jules message is about loneliness and the minds of old people. Sometimes, we may say a thing or two to our parents out of worry, but it really hurts them. On the other hand, Jules’ presence in Milton’s life is close to a miracle for him. He has a family, something to do, and someone to look after rather than waste away with nothing to do. Even after Jules’ is gone, Milton still has friends who look after him and who understand him deeply.