Thoughts on Julie and Julia
Last month I housesat for my cousin Chrissy. It was almost like a vacation for me except I had to work my ass off the whole time. But, I did get to hang out with her cats, who were friendly. The one friendlier cat was fat and my best buddy. One night I was having a beer, sitting on the sofa with the cat and decided to watch a movie. I perused all her pay channels and found Julie and Julia, which I didn’t even know was on cable yet.
Julie and Julia is a film about Julie, a woman who has a seriously shitty job who decides to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook after becoming, at first interested, then admiring, and then downright obsessed with Julia Child, much to the chagrin of her super hot and super understanding husband. Her story parallels with Julia Child & her husband in France after the war and her trying to figure out what to do with herself. Oh, and it’s all a true story, because she blogged the whole thing (which turned into a book which turned into this movie. See?)
Amy Adams plays Julie like a lost squeaky elf, looking for meaning in her life. I am not sure if that was her real job, but in the movie she plays a phone rep who has to talk to the angry families of 9/11 victims. I don’t know if she could have had a worse job. Anyway, they lay it on thick (in true Nora Ephron style) and YOU WILL FEEL FOR HER! WE HAVE WAYS OF MAKING YOU FEEL FOR HER! DON’T YOU FEEL BAD FOR HER?!!
15 years ago, Julie would be Meg Ryan. Just sayin’.
Sooooooo, as she gets more and more into cooking in her teeny kitchen (which she complains about) in her giant NYC apartment (ok, it’s in Queens but it’s HUGE), which she also complains about, she becomes obsessed with making all Julia Child’s recipes from her book. Her husband gets mad because she won’t sleep with him or talk to him or acknowledge his existence, and really treats him like crap. He leaves, she freaks out, he comes back, some other things happen and she is a happy camper.
The way they wrote Julie made me want to reach into the television and smack her in the head. If the real Julie Powell actually acted like that, at minimum to her husband, she is an awful human being.
On the flip side, they also chronicle Julia Child’s life in France with her husband and her eventual immersion in cooking and writing her cookbook. Meryl Streep is Child and Stanley Tucci plays her husband (his second food themed movie. The other is one of my favorite movies, Big Night, with Tony Shalhoub.)
As much as an annoying twit Julie Powell’s character is, you just cannot help love Streep’s Child. Even the high-pitched voice is endearing. The colors, the costumes, even the cars, are gorgeous. Tucci is fantastic as her supportive husband, even as he has problems of his own.
Honestly, if they shot more, it could have just been a biopic of Child, and it would have won even more awards then Streep ended up winning. It looks that good and is that much fun to watch. Watching her deal with the sexist chefs at the Cordon Bleu, find friends to write the cookbook with and even making dinner for her husband is fascinating. I do not particularly like Meryl Streep but she deserves every award she got for this role.
Was it worth watching? Surely. I do like food (duh) and Julia Child (yup) and even tho Julie Powell was super awesomely annoying, it was worth my time. Check it out on a rainy day.