Aug 7, 2009

Why I liked the film Julie and Julia


Tonight I went with Glenn to see Julie and Julia.

Afterwards, I was imitating Julia Child's voice on the way home. "Ooooh, I loved the movie so much!"

Julie and Julia (2009) directed by Nora Ephron stars Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell. The story is about how Julia's Child cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking inspires a New Yorker to cook each recipe in one year.

I loved the film.

No, I have never read Child's cookbook or even glanced at her TV show. I had not read Julie Powell's book either.

The film's narrative goes back and forth between 1950s France and 2002 Queens, New York. The viewer watches as Child in 1949 goes from barely able to boil an egg, to developing, collaborating and eventually writing a French cookbook for Americans to Julie Powell, a beleaguered government employee fielding calls from relatives of 9/11 victims who one day decides to cook her way through Child's masterpiece and blog about it.

I thought Streep captured the playfulness and persistence of Child. In one scene, learning her sister has had a child, Streep captures the joy of a woman learning her sister is pregnant, but also the stabbing reality that she herself has not had children. The humor of Child's dogged determination to "do something" is married with her love of food. "It's good isn't it?" she asks her husband, played by Stanley Tucci, offering him a taste of her latest creation. I never followed Child, being too young to be interested in her on TV, but I was struck by her equal parts of childlikeness and almost cold-hearted aspiration. As her husband coyly notes, she was able to make the most snooty Parisian smile.

Adams can certainly not top Streep's performance. Streep evoked a benign Child completely enamored by her craft, giving "no apologies." Adams is a more difficult character to like. She is woefully insecure and feels overshadowed by her more successful friends. Her "sainted husband," played by the super handsome Chris Messina, carries the relationship and endears himself to the audience. I liked him the best.

So, go watch Julie and Julia. You will be motivated to write a blog (which is why I am writing this entry).

Jon: I was hoping you could be with me. :-)

The image of Merly Streep is taken from http://cdn.buzznet.com/media-cdn/jj1/headlines/2009/01/julie-and-julia-movie-still.jpg

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