Who is Julia? is a 1972 novel by Barbara Harris that was made into a 1986 TV movie starring Mare Winningham. Julia North is a beautiful model who is crushed by a car while saving the life of a young child whose mother, Mary Frances Bodine, suffers a fatal brain haemmorage upon witnessing this event. Both women are rushed to hospital, where brilliant physician Dr Matthews embarks on an experimental procedure: transplanting Julia North's brain into the healthy body of Mary Frances. The operation is a success, but Julia must now face life trapped in another woman's body, and the husbands of both women must learn to adjust to the new situation.
Who is Julia? and its TV film adaptation contain examples of the following tropes:
- Ambiguous Ending
- Brain in a Jar
- Emergency Transformation: Julia's whole-body transplant is effectively this.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: Julia and Dr Matthews fall in love, but do not act on it.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Julia.
- Identity Amnesia: Jack Bodine is convinced that his wife survived with this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Don North may come across as superficial and uncaring, but proves himself by persisting in his support of Julia's recovery.
- Julia Needs A Body
- Loss of Identity: A central theme of the story, and a source of angst for Julia.
- Medical Drama
- Missing Mom: Mary's body is alive and well, but inhabited by Julia instead. The scene where Julia must pretend to be "mommy" is particularly heartrending.
- Near-Rape Experience: An unusually sympathetic one.
- Not Herself
- Two Aliases, One Character: Tragically, Jack Bodine believes Julia is his wife who has suffered amnesia, and calls her Mary Frances. There's a small possibility that he may be right
- Will They or Won't They?: Julia and Dr Matthews.