Friday, November 6, 2009

Julie & Julia

This is a movie only a mother would love. This is a good movie though. I would not advise watching this movie on an empty stomach. This movie revolves around food and cooking. And not any type of food, some of the best food combinations that can be contemplated by the human mind.

Meryl Streep is Julia Child who was tearing up the world in her patient and slow moving way in the late 1940's and the early 1950's. Well, this movie begins in 1949 in France. Child is married or gets married to an American ambassador named Paul Child. Stanley Tucci plays this part. Streep just dwarfs him, he is not a large fellow. I still remember back in the olden days when Hollywood gave this guy the international assassin role in the Denzel and Juia movie-The Pelican Brief. Tucci is as plain looking as light green grass in my hometown of Sacramento.

Streep's voice is as annoying as Harrison Ford's voice in K19. That is for sure. It is a contradiction in terms because she is suppose to be down to earth and the French people she is surrounded by are the haughty and pedantic ones. Especially the cooking school's manager in Paris. Julia wants a hobby, she has an interest in cooking but she wants to develope this skill. The female French school manager is so dainty and unimpressed with Julia, she does everything she can to have her walk out of the door. It reminds me of a little of some the Asian leaders who did not want Bruce Lee teaching secret Chinese fighting techniques to the masses. Why this this French school administrator wants to turn away paying business is baffling to me. But Julia is determined and her husband is not destitute. She pays the fee.

Julia Childs goes on to become a cooking connoisseur. The movie bounces back and forth showing the challenges and tribulations of each woman, respective of their worlds and generations. It goes from the modern era to the early 1950's. Julie Powell is in her prime in the modern era and she has always enjoyed cooking. Amy Adams is the actress who plays in this true life story. She follows the recipes of Julia and while she is doing this she blogs about it. Chris Messina is her fictional husband, his given name is Eric Powell. Eric is the main breadwinner of this small household in New York. They do not have a child and Julie works in a call center. It Eric's idea to incorporate a blog into the challenges and enjoyment of cooking every Julia Child's recipies. He feels the agony and journey of this lengthy feat should be documented and recorded. Good idea. Julie is not as Internet savvy. This is what they do, this is their journey. They have the money and invest in buying the high quality foods and ingredients it requires for everyone of these fascinating dishes.

Julia has her challenges. Her husband is an ambassador so they face the burden of relocating. Julia loves Paris and basis a lot of her cooking on French patterns and tastes. I am sure there is an American taste tossed in. This seems strange to me considering how the French cooking school administrator treats her. But French cooking and certainly their breads are world reknown. One person can not overcome the great food which emanates from France.

Julie has her issues too. After a few months of concentrating on her blog and recieving a small following on her blog, her husband uses the word narcistic to describe her. I am not sure where this comes from. Her beloved hobby could turn into a small money stream and he gets to eat everyone one of her incredible creations. This is a man's heaven? These home cooked winning plates would be some of the highest value in some of the finest New York City restaurants. Eric runs away for a week or so but realizes they can work this out. Julie's local fame begins to grow a little bit and she receives a local newspaper interview. Then it is the New York Times-which is on the verge of bankruptcy because of their liberal bias-and then she receives book offers. Her cooking has morphed her into a writer.

This movie tossed in a little history. They demonized McCarthy again but this was just a short sidenote. Paul is interrogated by some Federal agents on a witch hunt but he is always supportive of his wife's endeavors. Julia cooked all day, she became a cooking instructor of her own and when they returned to America, she cooked on a television show. She became an inspiration. She certainly inspired Julie but it turned out she did not care for Julie's attempt and growing fame many years later. Was this jealousy or did she spend too much time in France? Perhaps Julia forgot how she was treated when she first wanted to learn how to cook. Either the former or the latter.

Julia's recipes were written down as well, obviously. She had hundred's of them and this ran her into trouble when publishing agents said this would have to be cut down. When she was willing to do this and chose a better title to her work, a publishing company was finally able to mass produce her book. Julia did not have to work full time like Julie since in her era, a husband's income was usually enough for a comfortable middle income existence. It did not seem like they had children, they did not, so she could spend a majority of her time shopping for the best foods and ingredients. Something Julie could relate too. Both woman set out to help regular woman, mothers, make fine dinners without that much struggle or stress.

I would not never sit through this movie again and did not really sit through at all. I never laughed but this is not a Vince Vaughn comedy. It was pleasant and I was sad a little when it ended. Julie never did meet Julia but she did show her some respects at an exhibit of Julia's by leaving her some of her best food ingredients: a bar of butter.

The music of this movie did fit the style and feeling of this movie. It is not something I would buy but does flow well.

Back to butter. Butter is too fattening to me. But I remember poor mounds of butter on some cinnamon roles when I was in the navy since I wanted to make my shipmates fat. I was not a mess specialist but I had this once chance and this is what I did.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

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