David and Lara’s Reviews of Julie and Julia

20 Aug

DAVID’S REVIEW

I went in to Julie & Julia with some trepidation. I think that’s the right word for it. My mother had called and told me to go see it with my wife because she would love it. Now I respect my mother in every way. And I usually do like the movies she tells me I’ll like. But I usually still go into them with apprehension for some reason. Maybe it’s the last reservoir of teenage angst that I have yet to dry out. I don’t know, but for whatever reason, when you combine my mother’s recommendation with a plot about cooking, I wasn’t expecting to just love it.

Well, I did love it. I think its one of the better movies I’ve seen in a while, actually. Why? Well, let’s start with Meryl Streep. I will watch anything this woman does. I love her. And in Julie & Julia there is absolutely every reason to love her. I saw this movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, here in Austin, and before the previews they were showing old videos of the real Julia Child’s television show. Meryl Streep was identical. If my own observations weren’t enough to convince, the older ladies in front of me did. They were obviously Julia Child fans, and they obviously bought the performance. Anytime Meryl Streep did something, or said anything, they would break into hysterics. Because it was dead on. She was amazing.

Secondly, Amy Adams. I adore Amy Adams. She’s just so darn cute. How can you not? Since I saw this movie I have heard several people say they didn’t like the movie because of Amy Adams. Well, I say that if you think that, you are stupid. I applaud her. Most of the time when you see a movie with a classic actress, like Meryl Streep, paired with a more up and coming actress, like Amy Adams, the up-and-comer is going to go crazy trying to compensate. There’s over acting all over the place, and it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Amy Adams didn’t do that. She held her own and she was completely believable. Bravo.

Thirdly, Nora Ephron. Let’s be honest, this lady started out really strong, but her track record hasn’t been so great lately. I’m sorry if you’re a huge fan. I really do think she’s good director, but Bewitched and Lucky Numbers? She hasn’t exactly been shooting up to par lately. But then Julie & Julia comes along and she amazes. The transitions between the past and present are seamless. The attention to detail is exquisite, especially in Julia Child’s kitchen. This is a very well directed movie.

What else? The plot is good. It kept me interested the entire time. Stanley Tucci is in it. Almost anything is better with a little Stanley Tucci. And it’s just a fun movie. I had fun watching it. Sure it’s not perfect, but what is? This is not a movie that I came out of with a list of things I didn’t like. I came out if this thinking, “That was fun.” And isn’t that what movies are supposed to do?

LARA’S REVIEW

I, like my male counterpart, had my doubts before seeing Julie & Julia. Although I have a love for Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Nora Ephron (she makes just about all of the “girly” movies I like), the previews didn’t excite me at all. To me it looked like a humdrum film about cooking. And I hate cooking. Thus, no real interest. Still, I went and saw it, as it was the last request of a dear friend of mine that we watch it together before she moved up to Seattle. And I’m glad she had such a desire.

While watching Julie & Julia I found myself rocking back and forth in my seat, positively beaming, due to pure film bliss. While I generally get bored with at least one of the plots in films with multiple story lines, in this instance I was equally enthralled in the lives of both women. I was enamored by the life of the boisterous Julia Child (Meryl Streep); her relationship with her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci), her passage into the field of cooking, and her love affair with the city of Paris. Every scene with Julia in it was absolutely full of life, just as I hear the real Julia was. (Julia Child lived in Santa Barbara and so the theater was full of old women giving anecdotes about real life run-ins with her). She is so lighthearted that she seems to be singing and laughing through everything she says. By the end of the film I felt as though I knew and loved her, just as Julie Powell (Amy Adams) did.

The story of Julie, while very different, was equally entertaining. Julie is fed up with her mundane job and her lack of drive in life, and so decides to undertake a challenge to cook every one of the 524 recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. She records every one of her food successes (and failures) on a blog titled “The Julie/Julia Project.” What I loved about Julie is that she is a real person. She melts down at failures, she gets obsessed with Julia Child, she occasionally takes her anger out on her husband (Chris Messina), she loves butter, she often makes things about herself, and she is terrified to “bone a duck.”  I guess the reason I love the character so much is I really relate to her. At her “worst moments” I found myself squirming in my seat at how close they hit to my temper-throwing home. However, the way I’ve worded it may seem as though she’s not a strong character. She is. And Amy Adams, as she did in Doubt, holds her own against the always commanding Meryl Streep.

I would have been delighted to see a film that was entirely about Julia or one that was solely centered on Julie. Both were very interesting tales that could have stood on their own as individual films. But it would not have felt complete, for, although the lives of the two women never intersect, they feed off of each other perfectly. First of all, Julie could not have been Julie without Julia. She is driven by Julia’s book, she watches her show, and she even speaks of feeling Julia’s presence with her in the kitchen. But more than that, Julie and Julia have a common bond in that they both find themselves through their passion for cooking. For Julia it started out as a way of occupying herself while her husband worked, and for Julie as a way to calm herself down after a day at the office, but each of them eventually gets so engrossed in creating food that it becomes a part of them. I know that sounds cheesy, but, come on, it’s a Nora Ephron movie. It has its moments of sadness, but ultimately a happy message. I highly recommend Julie & Julia to anyone and everyone. But don’t see it on an empty stomach.

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3 Responses to “David and Lara’s Reviews of Julie and Julia”

  1. Emily August 21, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    I also loved this movie and saw it last night with my fellow lover-of-cooking-friend Katie. (It’s acutually boning a duck that Julie is afraid of)
    You guys gave great reviews and I’m going to make David read them so he goes to see this with me again 🙂

  2. Louisa August 22, 2009 at 12:48 am #

    Just saw this movie and loved it. I’m actually not a fan of Meryl Streep, but she was so convincing and adorable in this movie that I’m beginning to like her. Love the blog Lara!

  3. cintussupremus August 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Geez louise! I can’t believe I said “boning a chicken” again. I did that about five times after seeing the movie, only to be corrected each time. Thanks for the assistance, Em.

    Oh and Louisa, glad you liked the movie and the blog!

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