I saw this last weekend and hadn't really thought about writing it up until now. All in all, it was a fairly solid chick flick -- not a whole lot of substance but reasonably good acting and writing.
Meryl Streep was easily the highlight of the movie as Julia Child, and I also appreciated Stanley Tucci's turn as Paul Child. The relationship between Paul and Julia was happy-making and a nice contrast to marital issues faced by Julie (Amy Adams) and Eric (Chris Messina).
The concept of the film is that Julie, a modern woman who has aspirations of being a writer, decides to break from her humdrum life as a government office worker by using her evenings to cook through Julia Child's (et al) "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Julie's story is juxtaposed with that of Julia learning to cook and struggling to get "Mastering" published.
It was fun to watch Julie, whom I'd classify as a pretty average woman, fight her way through the recipes, some of which were very difficult and even weird (aspic, anyone?). She blogs about her struggles and successes, in the kitchen and in her marriage, which takes some hits thanks to her newfound hobby. But in the end, of course, love prevails and Julie gets the book deal she has longed for.
The good part about it, I suppose, is that it's based on a true story, and obviously this woman really published her book. As a writer and the spouse of a writer who's hoping to get his first novel published in the (fairly) near future, I can identify with this part of the story. Knowing that this average person managed to do something extraordinary and make one of her dreams come true gives me some sense of hope.
And the movie made me want to cook, try more new recipes. I don't really think I'll ever do what Julie Powell did, if for no other reason than the massive amount of money it'd take (I think she eventually set up a Paypal account via her blog to offset the cost). But I now have a goal of trying one new recipe per week. We'll see how that goes!
Altogether, the movie was enjoyable, and I appreciate that I walked away from it feeling a little better about life and driven to cooking action. I've heard the arguments that Amy Adams' acting is weak, whiney, etc., but I think it's a portrayal of a character, and when it's held up against Meryl Streep's Julia -- well, it's hard to even compare. Streep does such a phenomenal job with a larger than life character that it's sometimes hard to come back to the modern-day (and sometimes a little boring) Julie, but it's real life.
I'd give the movie a B+.
Present and accounted for.
3 weeks ago