Saturday, August 15, 2009

JULIE & JULIA (2009)

Written & Directed by Nora Ephron

Where & When: Century Theaters, Palm Springs, CA August 13, 2009 12:25PM

My partner, Dean & I made a two day escape to Palm Springs for rest and relaxation. Dean is fair skinned so he can only lay out in the sun in the early morning and the late afternoon.

So during the hottest part of the day, we went to the wonderful air conditioned local movie theater and saw "Julie & Julia". My idea of a great way to spend an afternoon. I really liked it. Dean... not so much but we both had a good time.

The film is based on two separate true stories. The first is from the book, "My Life In France" by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme (He's Paul Child's great nephew) and it tells us the story of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci) who arrive in Paris in the 1950's.

They are there because Paul is starting his new post as a diplomat. Julia feels she should do something while they are in France. She tries millinery and bridge but she soon realizes what she is interested in is eating. The Child's first meal in Paris is what sets her off to discover all about French cuisine. She eventually goes to the Cordon Bleu School of Cooking to learn. Child meets Simone "Simca" Beck and Louisette Bertholle who are in the middle of struggling to write a French cookbook for Americans. This leads to a collaboration with Mrs. Child which in turn leads to the classic cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

The second book is a memoir, "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell. Amy Adams plays Julie and she works for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. She fields calls in her tiny cubicle with people complaining all day and she is frustrated. Her friends are successful and she feels she hasn't fulfilled her promise as a writer because she hasn't finished her book. Discussing this with her husband (Chris Messina) they come up with the idea for her to write a blog. The blog would be about her making all 524 recipes in Julia Child's cook book in one year.

I liked the idea of combining the two books to make one film because it clearly shows how Mrs. Child found herself through cooking and also how her contributions and innovations still inspire people today. Although I found the Julia Child part a little more interesting, it could be simply be because of Ms Streep who you can't wait to see again. She gives another brilliant performance that is in a class by itself and I am sure you will see her name once again during the Oscar nominations. Not to short change Ms Adams and the rest of the cast who are all wonderful but let's face it, when Ms Streep is in a film, most people have to sit in the back seat.

Ms Ephron is back with a great film after a few lackluster works like"Bewitched" and "Hanging Up" but I have always been a fan of hers and I am sure this film really worked because she was inspired and is very passionate about food and cooking. After seeing "Julia & Julia", it will leave you with a very warm feeling and a big craving to eat a really great meal.