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The good parts of "Julie and Julia" are so darn strong, beautiful, and
new that J&J becomes an instant classic. Grateful audiences are going
to be laughing and crying and being inspired by this movie for a long,
long time. The Julie portion is the weaker of the two, but not so weak
that it sinks the film.
Meryl Streep as Julia Child is one of the most endearing, arresting performances ever. That the real Julia Child and her groupies irritate me no end in no way interfered with my appreciation of Streep's amazing characterization. I laughed and cried several times, I was so engaged in the cinematic Streep/Child's story.
Streep's chemistry with Stanley Tucci as Paul Child, Julia's husband, is breathtaking. No attempt is made to make Streep or Tucci conventionally attractive. No attempt is made to make them look young and dewy they weren't Julia married Paul when she was in her thirties and he was ten years older. Julia is tall; Paul is short; Julia is loud; Paul is bald, quiet and retiring. It is implied that they can't have children. They don't share conventionally romantic movie moments; they don't "meet cute," there's no candlelight, no slow dances, no full frontal nudity, no vulgar language (with one hilarious exception involving cannelloni).
All Paul and Julia do is share the drudgery and rewards of working life: hers as a cook, his as a state department official. The key to Streep and Tucci's chemistry is that they portray two characters who love each other. Watching a loving, married couple in a marriage that works is one of the great, and sadly rare, pleasures of this film. Steep and Tucci are every bit as charismatic a couple as Tracy and Hepburn. Jane Lynch is also brilliant in a small role as Julia's sister.
The Julia segments take place in post-war Paris, and the Paris of this film, one of elegant cafes, haute couture and vintage cars, is someplace we all wished we lived (except for the ever-present cigarette smoke.) No matter how you feel about cooking, the film gets you to care about Julia's slowly being drawn into her destiny as one of the legendary chefs of all time. You also care about, and respect, Paul, his career and its ups and downs in the McCarthy era, and his support of his wife.
The Julie Powell portion of the movie is the weaker portion. I really like the film's structure of switching back and forth between contemporary Queens and post-war Paris, contrasting a career woman's attempt to cook all of Julia Child's recipes with Julia Child herself, before she became famous. I just think that the film fails its own structure by simply not making the Julie Powell portion as interesting as the Julia Child portion. Some have complained that Queens is depicted as being too dismal, and Paris too elegant. It's more than that, though.
I think Ephron, a brilliant filmmaker, drops the ball with Julie Powell because she never engages the tough questions about Powell's experiment. Was Powell just someone eager for fame in the Warhol era of "Everyone is famous for fifteen minutes"? Was Powell parasitizing Child's fame? Was Powell a bad wife to her husband as she obsessed on completing her self assigned task? Have blogs killed quality writing? Was Julia Child correct in her condemnation of Powell? I am not saying that the answer to any of the above questions is "Yes." I'm not bashing Julie Powell. I'm saying that by not engaging them, Ephron made the Julie portion of the film simply not as interesting as it could have been had these very real questions been engaged. Instead, Ephron tries to turn Julie into a cute, bland Meg Ryan character, and it never works, not for an instant. When Powell has lunch with her career gal friends, her friends are such Gordon Gecko style sharks that we care less for Powell for being so needy as to want to impress them. The absolute worst scene in the movie comes when Powell, who has never been depicted as feeling happy or fulfilled, not with her job, not with her husband, not with her home life, plays 65 answering machine messages from agents, editors, and publishers who want to make her famous. As these messages play, she has sex with her husband, and her husband's comment lets us know that this is the first time in a long while that he has experienced satisfaction from his wife.
The message of that scene is so tawdry, it cheapens the glow created by the Julia portion of the film, that shows Julia Child achieving satisfaction *before she ever becomes famous*. Julia *loved* cooking. Julia *loved* her husband. Yes, she celebrates when Knopf wants to publish her book, but she is so divorced from the rat race that she doesn't even know how to pronounced "Knopf" whether the initial K is silent.
Julie Powell is depicted as needing fame to feel good about herself, and the movie never interrogates that. Had it done so, the Julie segments would have been as interesting as the Julia ones.
In any case, this is a great film that will enjoy a much deserved embrace by its fans.
Twenty years after writing her best screenplay so far, When Harry Met
Sally... (movie directed by Rob Reiner), Nora Ephron has finally
matched it, at least with one story in her latest attempt titled Julie
& Julia. In the meantime, combining it with her writing talents, she
has directed a string of movies, including her commonly most acclaimed
film Sleepless in Seattle, as well as seriously under-appreciated,
though oddly amusing lineup of eccentric characters, brought together
in the movie Mixed Nuts, remade from its French original.
Julie & Julia has immediately placed itself on top of my personal list of her self-penned directorial accomplishments. Based on two true stories, movie combines six decades separated lives of Julia Child (Meryl Streep), wife of an American diplomat (Stanley Tucci) in post-WW2 Paris, discovering her passion for French cuisine, then introducing it to American amateurs, and modern era Julie Powell (Amy Adams), professionally reduced to a hot line counselling 'cubicle girl', desperately entertaining her unfulfilled literary ambitions via blogging about her attempt to try and finish all 524 recipes from Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days.
Ms. Streep's acting is great as always, this time even aided by the physical grandeur of her greater-than-life on-screen persona, undoubtedly achieved by means of never visible pair of platform shoes, providing that she's impersonating genuinely tall person, as real Julia Child apparently was. Adding to it Mr. Tucci's notable performance in his role of a diplomat and supportive husband, as well as Ms. Adams's, well, not so remarkable, but still passable performance in her role of Julie, backed by yet another understanding and supportive husband (Chris Messina), combined they present us with the movie abundant not only with gastronomic treats, but cinematic ones, as well. (8-star rating as a rounded up average between 9-star Julia's and 6-star Julie's story.)
Saw this movie at a private screening last night. What a lovely movie! Amy Adams is playing Julie -- a part that Meg Ryan used to play when she was young and adorable. Amy so is! Chris Messina as Eric, her husband, is a saint (you'll understand why I say that when you see the movie). Stanley Tucci is wonderful and you'll just love him. But nobody can top La Streep! Every time she appears on screen, the film just glows. She is amazing and you will smile every time you see Julia on screen. The only thing that might upstage Meryl is the food being cooked. I had eaten dinner before I went but was actually salivating several times during the movie. Julia Child made French food accessible and you will want to eat -- a lot afterward. Everyone was laughing a lot -- sometimes on top of lines being said, which made us miss the next few lines. This is NOT a chick flick -- I highly recommend this for people 14 and older (younger kids will probably be bored ---- silly younger kids!). I am just amazed at Meryl Streep! She's a true talent. Oh, I was happy to see Jane Lynch appear briefly. Love her! Go, go, go!
I was lucky enough to receive tickets for an advance screening, and was
plenty excited about attending.
There was a slight hiccup when someone started the film 15 minutes before it was meant to start so they stopped it ten minutes in and then restarted it again at the actual time. This actually was not annoying at all because it gave me a chance to look at the background details. Mid-20th century Paris is beautifully rendered and early 20th century New York is given gritty charm with a primary setting of an apartment over a pizza parlor.
Now I know it was an advance screening and everyone was excited to be there, thus much more prone to laugh, but honestly, this film had brilliant moments of humor in it. Myself, friends, and the rest of audience had a number of laugh-out-loud moments. A lot of these stem from the mannerisms of Julia Child, which are as incredibly endearing as they are humorous.
Meryl Streep's acting is, of course, superb. Though my familiarity with Julia Child is a combination of what seems to be legend, a visit to her kitchen in the Smithsonian, and Dan Akroyd's SNL impersonation, Meryl plays Julia so charming and so convincing, you can't help but feel like Julie and fall a little in love with her. On screen, Meryl's Julia brought a constant smile to my face.
Amy Adams is also wonderful, and I really connected with her as Julie Powell. She also does great humor. I found her to be very subtle in her approach and even quite sympathetic when not going through her good moments. Chris Messina as Julie's husband, Eric, does a lot to keep these moments fresh. Finally, Stanley Tucci as Paul Child plays well off Meryl, and dare I as a 21-year-old say it about actors so much older than me? Meryl and Paul honestly have great chemistry.
What really steals the show and appears great on cinema is both Julia and Julie's cooking expenditures. Make sure to eat before attending, I can't stress that enough because the food looks amazing.
As for the negative, the film does drag a bit in the middle. The switching between Julie and Julia POV works great at the beginning and at the end, but I think in the middle, it just makes the plot drag.
Overall, definitely worth going to see and quite enjoyable just make sure to eat before attending!
Ms. Streep's performance alone makes this film worthwhile--in recent
years she has really shown her great talent as a comedian (Adaptation,
Devil Wears Prada, this film). She has great comic timing, and always
goes just far enough for the laugh, and usually not too far that it
feels staged or unnatural.
From the reviews I read, I was really expecting not to like the "Julie" half of this movie--but I was pleasantly surprised. I read both "Julie and Julia" and "My Life in France" earlier this summer, and I have to confess that I didn't love the Julie Powell book. Amy Adams really brings this character to life and makes you care about her (more so, I think than the book did). One problem with the balance in this project is that Julia Child did something really important for cooking in America, and so her story is inherently interesting. Julie Powell wrote a book. That became a movie. Add to that the fact that the heavy hitters in the film all live on the Julia side--Streep, Stanley Tucci, and a great cameo by Jane Lynch--and the deck feels fully stacked. Full credit to Amy Adams and Chris Messina, then, for making us care about the half of the film that teetered on the edge of the perfunctory.
This film is all the more remarkable in that it is so rare to see a film these days that just revels in joie-de-vivre. I'm sure a lot of the rough edges of Julia's personality are smoothed over--but some of the stressful moments are there. I just felt so much affection for Streep's Julia Child in this movie--and I laughed repeatedly and heartily at her antics. A fun time at the movies--which is a rarer pleasure than it should be.
i never really liked Meryl Streep that much until "Doubt" last year.
and i've always been in love with Amy Adams. so when i found out the
two were in yet another film together, i jumped at the chance to go to
i expected the film to be good, but it was even better than expected. humor was one of the driving forces of the film, but that didn't take away from some more serious moments- rather, it accentuated them and made them all the more poignant and even heartbreaking.
Ms. Streep is nothing short of perfect as cooking personality Julia Child. in fact, it may be the best performance yet i've seen from her. hilarious, lovable, passionate, and tender, she hit every note perfectly.
Ms. Adams, likewise, was superb as Julie Powell, a government worker who decided to tackle Julia Child's 500+ recipes in her groundbreaking cook book in a year's time while documenting online the whole process in a blog.
the two true stories are perfectly balanced, and the screenplay (adapted by the director Nora Ephron) strikes some wonderful parallels between the two women, and paints, or rather, cooks up two great ingredients to become one delicious dish.
there is a bit of a lag in the second half of the movie, but this is forgiven by the fact that the movie never becomes distracted from its purpose. excellent cast, fantastic story-telling, and wonderful direction. Julie & Julia will have you holding out your dish begging for more.
Saw it at a Sunday matinée in the multiplex up the street. The place
was packed and we got there just in time -- the theater sold out right
after we got our tickets. Seems to be a popular movie, here in DC
Young married Julie Powell is a miserable cubicle-dweller whose husband encourages her to write a blog about preparing every recipe in volume one of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in the space of a year. Great premise, right? Clever story involving a young woman finding fulfillment through Julia Child, the French Chef, the first Public Television superstar? Well, I read the book and I gotta say I didn't care too much for Julie Powell, who came across as a basically unpleasant human being I'd never invite to dinner. But the premise really got to me. "Mastering the Art..." is the cookbook I have always turned to when I want to prepare a truly special dinner. I've had the box set of volumes one and two since the 70s, and gotta tell you they're well-used. Volume one is falling apart, in fact. (Anybody know a good book binder in DC?) So what WOULD it be like to devote a year's spare time to that wonderful instruction manual for home chefs? I wanted to have the experience without doing the work, so of course I read the book. But golly, I didn't want to read about Julie's ovaries and her girlfriends' weirdnesses and her lust for some actor and on and on with the girl talk. What a totally tiresome book it was.
Anyway, I plowed through Julie and Julia thinking I'd eventually be charmed, but I wasn't. Too bad. And now comes the movie, and I'm thinking Nora Ephron will surely correct the book's biggest flaw, which was too much time (~90%) devoted to Julie's blog-slog and only a few fascinating pages devoted to Julia Child.
And I was right. The movie gives the stories I'd say about equal time, which is still too much Julie/Amy Adams, and not enough Julia/Meryl Streep, but it's SO much a better mix than the book. The life of Julia Child could make a good movie on its own without all the gimmickry. But this is a perfectly entertaining movie in spite of it.
Speaking of Meryl Streep, she is a marvel to behold in this movie. Her impersonation is dead on, even better than Dan Ackroyd's, which is featured prominently and hilariously in the film.
"Julie and Julia" argues that Julia Child changed the way America eats, and the more I learn about her the less I feel inclined to argue about that. The movie brings her fascinating story to life and if I had to put up with a few scenes of Julie Powell melting down, well ... so what? It's a great movie if you have been in love with Julia Child as I have for many years, and a perfectly good one if you haven't.
Meryl Streep continues to amaze. There's never been an actress quite like her. Her body of work is a gallery of character without parallel. After 3 decades she is still brand new. She never became a parody of herself like many other great actresses before her and, chances are, she never will. Here she recreates a popular icon, fearlessly. Her joy is utterly contagious and her side of the film is a marvel. Amy Adams, good as she is, becomes an unwelcome distraction. We want to stay with Meryl's Julia all the way. I think that Norah Ephron (Mixed Nuts) must have known, she must have! Didn't she notice in the cutting room, that we were going to be turning away from the story every time we move away from Julia Child? In any case I'm glad we had the chance to see this new Meryl Streep creation. Kudos also to Stanley Tucci. Stanley and Meryl create one of the most original believable couples in decades. Thanks to modern technology we will be able to re-edit the film for private consumption and have a sensational short : Julia in Paris.
I saw this film in preview last evening and believe it's a winner on several levels. The performances by the leads and the many supporting roles are great - you can't help loving the characters portrayed. The biographic nature of the 'Juila' story combines nicely with the more present day 'Julie' storyline - leaving the viewer to route for Julie's cooking goal while simply falling in love with Meryl Streep's Julia Child. In both stories we are treated to the women's relationship with food, husbands and the challenging worlds they inhabit. Predominantly, there is a real sweetness about the support each husband gives his wife and a fair amount of chuckles throughout. I'll admit that there could have been a few more edits but this film still satisfies while paying homage to the iconic figure that Julia Child is.
"Julie & Julia" is based on the book by the same name, which is based
on the true story by Julie Powell about "The Julie & Julia Project".
Julie (Amy Adams) is a government employee working in New York City in
the year following 9/11. She, her husband Eric (Chris Messina) and
their cat live in an apartment above a pizza parlor. All of her friends
are successful in their careers. Julie is not. Of course, we all know
who Julia Child is!! Meryl Streep was a fantastic Julia Child, who
started out as a bored housewife in Paris looking to fill her time and
ended up being a major influence on American cuisine.
One evening, while bemoaning the lack of meaning in her life, Julie picks up Julia Child's cookbook and decides to cook all 524 recipes in the book in a year, while blogging about her experience. At first, no one is interested, but as time goes by, Julie gets more and more followers of her blog.
I liked the parallel stories of Julia and Julie. They had similar experiences, yet there were drastic differences. Julia's husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) was extremely encouraging of Julia's cooking, while Julie's husband was kind of a jerk!! He was not very supportive of Julie's project. Seriously, if someone was going to be cooking me delicious food for a year, I would be 100% encouraging them along every step of the way!! Julia and Paul had a beautiful residence (with a maid!!), while Julie and Eric lived in a tiny apartment.
I enjoyed seeing the delicious meals both Julia and Julie prepared, especially boeuf bourguignon (YUM!!!). One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Julia's sister Dorothy (Jane Lynch) comes to Paris to visit her. It was adorable to see two grown women squealing like little girls because they are so excited to see each other. There was quite a bit of passion in this film passion (romantic and non-romantic) for each other and passion for food.
The movie dragged a bit, with a running time of just over 2 hours I thought some scenes could have been trimmed down a bit.
Overall an enjoyable dish go see this movie with your mom, your sister, or your best friend. Whatever you do, DON'T go hungry because you will regret it!! Madison Monroe - iratefilms
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