Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A real movie review: Julie & Julia

Sean and I viewed the film Julie & Julia the other day and the consensus is: We loved it.

First, a brief synopsis: It tells of two stories, one of Julia Child's life in the 50's, discovering the French culinary arts and becoming who we know her to be, and the other of a modern-day woman living in Queens who decides to start a blog documenting an experiment of making all of the recipes in Julia's book (over 500) within the span of one year. Through the recipes, Julie feels a connection to Julia and through these two stories, we feel a connection to both. Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and Amy Adams plays Julie Powell.

My thoughts: Meryl as Julia Child is just delightful. Seriously. I've never been so delighted whilst watching a movie. I am pretty sure i had a perma-stupid grin on my face the whole time. Just utterly delighted. And perhaps my overuse of the word "delighted" is due to the rest of the movie audience which was largely made up of the female over 90 crowd. But it was just a treat. A delightful treat. I haven't seen much of Julia Child so it's not like I was going into it thinking, ohhh maaan. I love Julia! But i knew she was a character and Meryl's portrayal of her was just totally funny. It's the kind of fun and funny that makes you feel good inside and i'm being totally serious. And, apparently (as Sean informed me) several actual JC quotes were used in the film. We went home and wikipedia'ed her afterward.

In one beloved scene, Julia is dining in France for the first time with her husband Paul, who is perhaps a bit more sophisticated, food-wise, and is introducing the fine French food to his wife. Julia eats some delicious buttery fish concoction and is utterly speechless, but just makes noises of disbelief and her husband responds, "I know...
I know!" I loved this because I have had many spiritual experiences in restaurants, tasting wonderful French food and not believing what i am tasting. It's confusing yet magical, and it's too much for words, and I cherish these memories which have had a lasting impact on me. So i deeply related to that. I feel a life lived without at least one moment like this is a life sorely lacking.

Another aspect I loved was the depiction of the marriages both of these women were in. So rare is it to see in films a high functioning marriage full of just love and devotion, the end. Particularly Paul & Julia's marriage. You keep waiting for someone to be a jerk or to not be, in the end, as he appears. But they are. They are supportive and wonderful and you almost think, what the.. that's not realistic, before you realize, wait yes it is and kudos to them. It's lovely to see, truly.

This movie has made me want to kick it up a notch in the kitchen. While I enjoy making fancy desserts, I'm not sure i could de-bone a duck. Sean said he would be up for it though, so with our powers combined, (and Sean having an actual knack for the culinary arts) I bet we could make something awesome. Because, as my snobbery has made me say, the only answer i can think of when I wake up in the dead of the night in complete panic and a cold sweat and say, "SEAN. What will we do if we ever move???" is, "learn to cook the way we have eaten. Make it ourselves." And so it must be done. (no we are not moving)

Go watch Julie & Julia today, and picture a goofy grinned girl and add "Jen" onto the end for me, please. I wished to be a part of it.


Natalie R. said...

That's so good to hear! My mom was just telling me about this movie (she hasn't seen it yet, just heard reviews) and it sounded like a really fun one. It's nice to know that real people like it, too, since sometimes movie reviewers are a bit nuts. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

Alanna said...

Reading your description of religious experiences at restaurants made me realize how much I need to go back to Maggiano's and eat their Rigatoni "D."

Incredible food sure is wonderful. (Too bad I can't cook at all!!!)

Mikelle said...

I'm officially abandoning my position of "voyeuristic viewer" in order to disclose that when I clicked on your "fancy desserts" link my work server blocked the page from opening. The page was dubbed "adult" and as I glanced at the URL I instantly realized the uber-offensive "ding dong" wording. Thank you, Work Server, for shielding me from such vile imagery. :p Love the blog!