Monday, August 10, 2009

Julie and Julia, parallel adventures that are nothing alike

The best chick flick offering this year finally opened. No, I'm not talking about The Ugly Truth (though I still want to see that), but rather a grown up movie that has nothing about trying to get a guy to notice you, but rather about two women trying to do something to make their lives feel fulfilled. Julie and Julia stars Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, respectively, learning to cook, and figuring out how to make cooking a part of their lives and selves. Julie lives in present day New York City working in a cubicle for a post-9/11 government division going nowhere. She has lunch with her college friends and finds her life inadequate and unlike the one she imagined when leaving college and reaching 30. To challenge herself she chooses to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in a year. We watch her attempts and misadventures and she discovers what I think most people do when jumping deep into cooking - many things are very hard, and some things won't taste good, even if they are in a cookbook. Meanwhile, the movie also follows the real Julia Child (portrayed with wonderful whimsy and panache by Meryl Streep) as she attends cooking school and ultimately attempts to get her cookbook published. It's a wonderfully funny movie, with heartfelt performances and witty dialogue. There were no slow or boring moments and remarkably few cooking montages. I remembered liking the book, and feeling Julie's anxiety when she had to cook aspic or live lobsters after racing home from the other side of Manhattan to a tiny Queens apartment. The movie finds that anxiety in both Julie AND Julia's lives and we get to ride through it with them. The chemistry in both marriages, with Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina, was both believable and enviable (neither traits easy to master in on-screen love) Excellent movie! 4.5 stars/Lambs


The Curmudgeon said...

I'm seeing this tmw - and I LOVED the book! Thanks for the stellar review.

Buttercup said...

I loved it, too, and blogged about it. Food, Paris and Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. I'm happy!

Jess said...

It really was terrific. I'm still hearing pieces about it on the radio or various ads on TV and I still smile remembering how much I liked it.