Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Julie and Julia"-foodie film that feeds the soul

On my list of "pending possible posts", a mocking and menacing list that taunts me daily, I’ve been meaning to comment on the new movie “Julie and Julia”, spurred by an article I read in the “New Yorker” last month about Nora Ephron.

I didn’t actually think I would go see the movie myself, I just don't go to the movies lately, but I wanted to encourage others to do so, for two reasons…I read and loved one of the books the movie is based on, and I really admire Nora Ephron, a strong female writer and director who creates the kind of movies I would make, if I was a film maker.

As luck would have it, I had the great delight of checking out the flick yesterday and I’m pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. It felt like a cozy bowl of soup with some flaky biscuits on the side. It was a movie of a sweet and wondrous love between a husband and wife and the marvels of plugging away at your dreams little by little. A nice dinner with a good bottle of wine afterward kept the glow a goin'

I knew the story of Julie Powell,I read her book "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously"when I first moved to the Pacific Northwest. My sister, who is an excellent cook and is ironically named Julie, loaned it to me. I enjoyed the amazing food preparation descriptions and escapades, and the loving details about the wonderful mecca that is called New York City. But I hated it for the same reason; I was so homesick for New York at the time that sometimes it made me sad. I was so annoyed that this girl who was an admin in a crappy office situation became a famous blogger, plus got a book deal out of the whole thing. Yes, of course I was jealous…I admit it.

I have vague memories of watching Julia Child on television, her quirky voice and the interesting way she cooked, hunched and looming over her counters. But other than that and the Saturday Night Live sketch in which Dan Akroyd portrays a blood spewing Child after she cuts herself, any other knowledge I had of the famous gourmand was pretty limited.

But after this movie I suddenly have a deep interest in her. She seemed to be a robust, passionate woman who was so upbeat and alive, enjoying whatever challenge came her way. I am eager to read "My Life in France" a memoir that half the movie is based on. I am also now convinced I could make a Beef Bourguignon, and whip up several other recipes as well. I think Julia Child was the Food Network all on her own, before such a thing existed.

Meryl Streep embodies the character so seamlessly it’s hard to tell where she ends and Julia Child begins. I would imagine for such a well-know actress this is no easy feat. Stanley Tucci plays a wonderful doting husband and chemistry between the two is truly magical. I’ve read some other reviews that state the Amy Adams sections aren’t as strong, but I think that’s like saying watermelon doesn't taste like cantaloupe. Amy Adams portrays the blogger Julie and it's unfair to say that an unknown person such as Julie Powell can compete with the star power of a Julia Child. Plus, I think reading “Julie and Julia” beforehand allows a better sense of those sections in the movie. I’m generally an advocate of the “read the book before you watch the film” movement. (If there is indeed such a movement, and if not I should start one. )

At any rate, two thumbs up from me, "Julia and Julia" is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, something I haven’t done in quite awhile. If Meryl doesn’t get an Oscar nod, than I’m not watching them.

Ha, ha that’s not true of course.

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