7th October, 2009
Julie & Julia (PG)
In a word: Pleasant
STRONG PERFORMER: Meryl Streep as cooking author Julia Child.
"At the end of the movie I found myself most surprised by how this was not just a movie about two remarkable women, but also about the husbands who loved them and valued them."
I can’t say that I went to the theatre expecting much from Julie & Julia. I’d read some critics’ reviews that were lukewarm, at best, and I was pretty sure I was venturing far enough into “chick flick” territory that my husband would be snoring within the hour, or sighing audibly while performing “subtle” checks of his watch. But I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the film – all of its two hours – and so did my husband. Here’s why.
It goes without saying that Meryl Streep perfectly nailed her performance as Julia Child. But Amy Adams as bloggist-cum-author Julie Powell was charming and engaging, even with her tragic haircut. It was easy to identify with her character’s frustrations with her life and to consequently cheer for her as she pursued her goal of cooking her way through Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.
It was fairly obvious that Powell would succeed in her goal (otherwise, why the movie?) but there were plenty of surprises still woven into the story. At the end of the movie, though, I found myself most surprised by how this was not just a movie about two remarkable women, but also about the husbands who loved them and valued them. One of the strongest moments in the film was when Child learned that her newly married sister was pregnant. Not having children of her own, she is overcome for a moment with grief. It is a beautiful scene as her husband (played by the underrated Stanley Tucci) holds her and tries to comfort her. What isn’t said or shown is what conveys the strength of the marriage, while helping us understand the humanness of these characters.
Any implied sex or sensuality in this movie is between married people only, and the only violence is committed on lobsters. I guess some people think this kind of story is boring, but I left the theatre feeling neither like a glutton for what the world offers nor hungry for more - just perfectly happy. While I do feel like I may owe my husband a “guy” movie for our next date, I know that he enjoyed the film. It may not be my favorite movie of all time, nor even on the “top 20” list, but it is a good movie that left me feeling pleasant – not at all unlike a satisfying meal.
Julie & Julia opens on 8th October.
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