lundi 17 mai 2010

Julie & Julia - film review

Julie & Julia

I wrote about the book way back in September last year but still haven't read it and only got around to watching the movie now! As far as movies and stories go I really enjoyed it. It was "fun" to watch. Meryl Streep was of course exceptional in her role as Julia Child and Amy Adams did a good job as Julie Powell, too.

The film is two stories in one. One of Julia's which takes place in the 50s mostly in Paris, and one of Julie's in the 00s in New York city. We see a lot of parallels in their lives but also a lot of differences. For one thing, Julia lived through WWII, and was married at 34, whereas Julie was married much younger (I'm not sure exactly when but I think early-mid 20s).

Julie Powell is your average 30 year old woman in New York City. She's just moved into a new apartment in the outer 'burbs of New York city with her husband Eric. By day she works for the government in an office listening to people's sob stories after 9/11 and by night she uses cooking as a sort of therapy to make her tiresome day seem brighter.  I could relate well to Julie and I'm sure all my friends can relate too, who are all around the same age as her, and stuck in boring office jobs.

She tries to re-invent her life by creating a blog, showcasing her cooking and using Julia Child's cook book "Mastering the art of French cooking" as a guide. She plans to take one year to cook all the 500+ recipes.

Meanwhile, Julia Child is re-inventing her life by finding a purpose. It was completely normal to be a (childless) housewife in the 1950s and not work, and having grown up rather rich where her family had cooks, she didn't know much about the culinary arts so she enrols herself at the (now) famed Cordon Bleu school of cooking and enters into the male-dominated field of professional cooking.

I think the film (by Nora Ephron) is clever in the way it infuses 2 separate stories to create one seamless story.

I had a lot of random thoughts running through my head whilst watching this film:

* Both Julie and Julia seemed to be lucky to find a wonderful guy to marry and who are/were very supportive of their endeavours. It almost seems rare these days to hear of happy marriages so I guess that left me feeling good.
* Paris is even more beautiful in the 50s than now! I love the clothes from the 1930-1960s era, the cute round, "bubbly" shaped cars.. life just seemed so much simpler and easier back then and I would've love to see Paris in the 50s. As well as that, I often read of comparisons between the way Parisians/French people dress compared to Americans/Anglos and it seems (if this film is anything to go by) that in the 1950s everyone dressed well. Indeed, it's something that I miss. I really miss well-structured zippered clothes instead of everything being lycra/elastic.
* I was happy to find out that parts of the film were filmed in Paris and that it wasn't all just a fake set in New York somewhere.
* Julie talks about her blog being an outlet and even though she set herself the hard challenge of cooking over 500 recipes in a year (365 days) she didn't feel that it was a chore because she really enjoyed it and it made her happy (and it probably took her away from the misery surrounding her stressful office job).
* The unfailing optimism and cheeriness of Julia is just amazing and was probably infectuous. I guess both she and Paul were overall optimistic people who loved and supported each other dearly, and I'm sure this has something to do with them living to the ripe old ages of 91 and 92.
* I'm not a cook and don't aspire to be one, however I am always in complete awe and envy of those who can cook well.

I think if you love cooking, France, Paris or "chick flicks" you would probably love this film. All the main stars are superb in their roles, including Stanley Tucci as Julia's husband, Paul.


I did quite a bit of reading after watching the film and it seems that a lot of people despise Julia Powell. I haven't read any of her books, nor have I read her blog in any great detail but it'll be interesting to form my own opinion once I've done so.

I admit I had no idea who Julia Child was prior to me coming across the book and the film, not being American and not being that into cooking but the more I find out about her, the more intrigued I am. She seems delightful and after reading the extract on I am now dying to read her "My Life in France" book!

Julie & Julia official movie site
imdb: Julie & Julia
Amazon: Cleaving (Julie Powell's 2nd autobiographical book)
Amazon: My life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme
Wikipedia: My Life in France
Julie Powell's original blog
Julie Powell's current blog
Chowhound: Discussion about Julie & Julia filming photos location shots
imdb: interesting discussion 1
imdb: interesting discussion 2
Design Sponge: Julie & Julia


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