August 10, 2009

It's Like Buttah

Doubt co-stars Meryl Streep and Amy Adams semi-reunite in the delicious new film, Julie & Julia. It chronicles the story of aspiring writer Julie Powell, discontented with her life and job as she approaches her 30th birthday. She decides to take on Mrs. Child's recipes for a whole year, and blog about it. (It later became a book.) The movie is also based on Mrs. Child's memoir, My Life in France.

The film is most interesting understandably when Ms. Streep is onscreen, because Julia Child and Meryl are both larger than life characters. Her Julia is funny, pitch-perfect, tenacious in her quest for self-determination and culinary excellence, undaunted by sexism at Le Cordon Bleu. She is also human and relatable as she faces childlessness, and later, rejection from book publishers. Behind the great American French chef is supportive husband Paul, quietly downing antacids after buttery-rich meals. Stanley Tucci complements her nicely. You get a good sense of her warm loving relationship with her spouse, her sister Dorothy (Jane Lynch), all her friends, and the French people. I loved the Parisian scenes. Paris really is a charming, picturesque city. (The book nerd in me rejoiced when I saw the Shakespeare and Company bookshop.)

In contrast, we see Julie move grudgingly to Queens, NY. (Yes Manhattanites, Queens is actually foodie heaven. Just hop on the 7 train and find out for yourself.) If it wasn't for Ms. Adams' charisma, Mrs. Powell would have been a less agreeable character. She also has a good man for a husband, Eric, played by Chris Messina. Mary Lynn's Rajskub (of TV's 24) is on hand to provide some comic relief when we're not laughing out loud at Ms. Child. (For eagle-eyed theatre fans, see if you can spot Hair's current Jeanie, Kacie Sheik in a dinner scene.)

It's great to see a story with a strong woman imparting some of her strength to a young, unconfident female to affect changes in the latter's life. But the biggest attraction was the food. I wanted to sample all the food made onscreen. It made me think of wonderful movies like Eat Drink Man Woman, Like Water for Chocolate, Tampopo, Chocolat.

Now if only my joy of eating could turn into a joy of cooking.

(Poster photo from Filmofilia)


Pinky said...

It was a delightful movie! But maybe we need to put a warning on the review....don't go to this movie on an empty stomach bec you'll just suffer LOL!

As for theatre people in this show...aside from Kacie Sheik, there's also Stephen Bogardus (White Christmas) - the Sen McCarthy interogator, Erin Dilly (Chitty Chitty bang bang) - the editor of Julia Child's book

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