Julie and Julia: More Julia please
In Nora Ephron’s new film “Julie and Julia,” there are three main characters: Julia Child, Julie Powell and French cuisine.
By movie’s end, you care about two of the three. It might not be perfect, but two out of three ain’t bad.
Julie Powell performed each recipe from Julia Child’s first book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” inside a year and lived to blog about it in 2002. The Julie/Julia Experiment graduated from blogspot to book-form. Then to this film, which interweaves Julia’s long road to being a published cookbook author with Julie’s attempt to be noticed on the Internet and write a book.
Meryl Streep’s carefree, almost bawdy, portrayal of Julia Child is so charismatic, that I was left wanting more — much more of her and less of Julie Powell.
The food is so lovingly photographed and portrayed that I I could taste the butter. As the movie progresses, food gets less and less screen time. Meanwhile, the longer you watch Julie Powell the less you care.
Amy Adams is one of her generation’s finest talents, and she portrays Julie Powell winningly. Powell has written a poignant and aggressively intimate memoir of a woman in need of inspiration.
Maybe Streep’s Julia is so ebullient, I felt I was missing something when she wasn’t on screen.
Julie’s story is about picking yourself up and getting yourself going. We can all relate to that. It has it’s own bit of inspiration. You want to pat her on the back, but juxtaposed with Julia’s achievement, Julie comes off a little marginal.
Maybe that’s because as Julie delves deeper into the year, she becomes shrill and a touch obsessed without regard to much else while Julia’s battle to publish her book took four times as long to accomplish, never left her a crying mess nor did anything but enrich her love life.
Julie was paired with a juggernaut and reduced to Robin to Julia’s Batman.
Watching Streep perform is generally worth the high price of movie tickets. In this case, you get to see Streep do the impossible: forget Dan Ackroyd’s Julia send up on Saturday Night Live until Ephron has the guts to include it in the film.
Stanley Tucci is perfectly understated as Paul Child and Chris Messina depicts Powell’s ever-patient husband Eric with panache.
If you have a modicum of interest in culinary history, you’ll enjoy seeing the French explosion onto the culinary landscape. If you haven’t watched Food Network since Emeril got demoted to Fine Living Network, you might lose interest about 70 minutes into the film.
I give it 2-1/2 stars
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