Movie Review – Julie & Julia

It feels very fitting for me to be blogging about this movie, for two reasons.  One, that the movie is about blogging, and two that I just won Best Tasting in a baking contest this evening.  So all in all very apropos – which, incidentally is not a sorority girl “abbrev” for “appropriate.”

Also, I realize that this movie came out a year ago, but I can only review movies I see, when I see them.  And I make no apologies for that!  “Life without compromise” is my new motto!

Anyway, onto the movie.  I remember being vaguely interested when Julie & Julia came out.  After all, I love Amy Adams, and I love cooking.  But I’ve always thought Meryl Streep was somewhat overrated – not for any real reason, but just because.  I’m judgmental, sue me.  Of course, I (obviously) didn’t see the movie until now.  Being a single male is not overly conducive to seeing chick flicks (FACT).  Unless you live life without compromise!

So, if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about Julie Powell – an aspiring author trapped in a tiny apartment above a pizzeria for the good of her husband’s job.  In an effort to reconnect with her inner author, compete with her important (read: more “successful”) friends, and to finally finish something for once, Julie decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in a single year.  And blog about it.  While working a full-time job and being married.

It is also the story of Julia Child: moving to Paris for her husband’s job, enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu mostly out of boredom, moving throughout Europe, and ultimately getting published.  The movie manages to expertly tell two stories that are both connected and completely separate.  And I loved it.

Something you should know about me: I love parallelism.  No, really.  Julie & Julia had this in spades.  Both women moved somewhere for their husbands, which led to them pursuing food, changing their lives, and seeking to get published.  It’s neat to see the similarities, as well as the differences.  For example, the movie starts with both women moving – Julie to a crapshack above a pizza joint, Julia to a lavish Parisian home.  I think it was important thematically to show that Julie is not reliving Julia Child’s life, but rather living her own life almost as an homage to Julia.

Beyond parallelism, I (as previously mentioned) love Amy Adams.  Her performance here was as adorable as always.  Her meltdowns are appropriately pathetic, her successes are heart-warming, and yet a bit of the narcissistic bitch peeks through – in a good way.  Her character is not perfect.  She’s flawed.  And Amy Adams does a great job of showing that.

Further, I absolutely adored Meryl Streep’s performance.  Not only did she nail Julia Child’s… characteristic voice, but also conveyed her energy as well as her – to be frank – physical awkwardness.  Plus, the scene where she breaks down over not having children?  Heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.  Meryl, I’m sorry.  I will never doubt your talent again.

But perhaps my favorite thing about the movie was Julia’s relationship with her husband Paul.  I knew I recognized Stanley Tucci from somewhere, but I’m shamed to admit I had to use Wikipedia to remember that he’s in Easy A.  In which he was the dad – my favorite character, and the type of father I aspire to be some day.  The characters are clearly deeply in love, and for once I didn’t cringe at “old people love.”  Instead I found myself “awww”-ing all over the place.  The simple ways in which they loved each other – a book here, a hand squeeze there – was touching.  I actually became considerably more invested in Julia’s relationship to her husband than I was in Julie’s!  And, cynically, kept waiting for some sort of epic marital meltdown that (thankfully) never came.

All in all, I highly recommend this movie.  My  parents love it, and I would have to say they probably fit the target demographic far better than myself.  Older people, especially couples, will love this movie.  As will younger couples, I think.  And also single girls who enjoy cooking.  I realize I am none of those things, and I loved it, so there might just be something for guys too.  So.  Guys.  Rent it.  Watch it with your girlfriends.  Decide to cook something from the book weekly for (or with) your lady.  And melt her heart the way Julia melted butter.

Other random observations:

Jane Lynch as Julia’s sister.  For once she wasn’t a buffoon or caricature!  I love Jane, but it’s often hard (or impossible) to really distinguish her roles from one another.  And while her part in this movie is small, it was nonetheless well-done.

Mary Lynn Rajskub.  You may know her as Chloe from 24 – which, don’t get me started on that show.  FOR ALL OUR SAKES.  But I know her only from this.

The lobster scene was really funny


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