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Julie & Julia (2009)
A Breath of Fresh Air
These days when Hollywood only seems interested in producing mega- budget action hero films, Julie and Julia although slightly predictable but still provides us with something fresh. In fact, to be very fair it is a throwback to the old Hollywood theme of feel good cinema. The focal point of the movie revolves around food which is always an interesting subject for many.
Julie and Julia is a story about two real life women, the famous cook "Julia Child" and a devoted fan of her' "Julie Powell" and there individual struggles to make sense of their lives.
Meryl Streep is so convincing in her role as Julia Child that she completely overshadows Amy Adams portrayal of Julie Powell. On further contemplation one feels that the character of Julia Child deserved a complete film in itself. That said Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina do justice to their characters in the movie.
The film could have been slightly shorter, although it never bores you to that level that you have to constantly check your watch. One major drawback is that after seeing all the wonderful culinary delights you feel that even you deserve a bite into something.
Fiesta Patria (2008)
Ghost's of Chile's Past
Fiesta Patria is a story revolving around two families who meet for a get-together celebrating the national holidays of Chile along with the engagement of their children (Macarena & Alvaro). The girl's parents(Isabel & Antonio) who play the hosts have some unresolved issues between them but they decide to work peacefully till the guests leave.
All seems to go well until a person from Isabel's past arrives at the party. His presence tends to bring out all issues that have been unsuccessfully hidden by all.
The background is based upon the political upheaval that took place in Chile in the year 1973. Two sides were fighting each other then; the Communists and the Military. Most of the guests lie on either side of the divide and this is cause of tension among them.
The film tries to portray how even after all these years the people of Chile have still not forgotten the events of the past and it continues to be a very sensitive subject. The director of this movie Luis Vera had himself suffered due the political upheaval due to which he had to live abroad in exile. The film basically tries to question whether the past can ever be forgotten to build a new tomorrow or if it should be used to build the base for the future.
The director has been successful in bringing out such problems to the forefront although, he has not explained certain relationships like the one between Ernesto and Antonio's other daughter. It has further been difficult for me to feel sympathetic towards Macarena to the level at which the director demands.
A good film if you are into family based dramas with a sprinkling of black comedy if one can say so.