Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Julie and Julia

Last night I went to see Julie & Julia, which has been out for maybe a week. My expectations were high, because I had read a good deal about Meryl Streep playing Julia Child. My memories of Julia were from when I was a young housewife in the 1960s watching her television show. Even then I wasn't much of a cook, but I watched for the fun of watching her, the famous Julia Child.

I also think I saw the Saturday Night Live spoof of Julia by Dan Akroyd (which I found on Hulu and can be watched here or you can just watch it in the movie, since it's played there). The movie also told me so much about Julia's life, how she started cooking, and how she came to write her now-famous book about French cooking (still being published and now in its 46th printing).
What I remembered about Julia was how much fun she seemed to be having. Meryl captures her essence so incredibly well, since I've spent most of today learning about Julia Child and finding out that the movie portrays her life pretty much as it was. Here's Meryl as Julia:
Julie Powell, in 2004, decided to try to cook all 524 recipes in Julia's book in one year, and she was determined to write a blog about her experience. Well, it became famous, as she wrote about her adventures, which in turn became a book. An excerpt from the publisher about the book is here:
With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.
And then Nora Ephron, one of my favorite humorists and authors, produced, wrote, and directed the movie, using the story of Julia and the interest in Julie's blog and book as a parallel thread. One of the things that I found fascinating is her description of the comparison between the 1960s and the 21st century.

The world is definitely not the same place any more, and not all of that is bad. I read a wonderful review by Russ Parsons from the LA Times that answered the question of the plot twist in the movie. This review is well worth reading, but I'd wait to read it until after I saw the movie, if I were you. He says it has "more spoilers than an unplugged refrigerator in August," and I have to agree. But it was so satisfying after having seen it! I hope you go. And tell me what you think!


  1. Haven't seen it yet, but would like to soon

  2. This movie is on my to -do list (along with the eye exam thing). When I found out months ago that it was being made, I knew I would see it. I never watched Julia Child's cooking show but her life story is fascinating. If the reviews are correct this should rank as one of the best of year.

  3. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. Meryl Streep is good in any role she plays.

  4. Went to see the movie a couple of Sunday'a ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not a movie a young person would enjoy, I wouldn't think, a bit too slow for this generation, but having also watched Julia Child in her French Cooking shows, I had to keep reminding myself that Meryl Streep was only acting !

  5. I would like to go...but can't get hubby to go with me...I will have to wait until I can rent it. ha

  6. Hello,Dear Jan,I have been a busy bee hence my absence.Now,your posts keep me glued to your blog for a long time,once i get here i like to spend time reading a few posts so tell you what,I'll be back to go through some and leave comments.Have a good day.

  7. I feel like a slacker. Maybe I should try to do 524 art posts in a year...or not!

  8. That certainly sounds like my kind of film. I just have to find the time DJan. I'm working so much at the moment, but I'll catch it sometime. I catch all the good ones.
    Blessings, Star

  9. definitely on my movie list next time we have a sitter!

    when Julia Child lived near us in Cambridge, MA she was actually in the phone book. One of my parent's friends, while cooking for a dinner party, found a mistake in a recipe and actually called her. Julia happily corrected the mistake over the phone and then asked, regarding the dinner party, "Do you have enough chairs?" of all the things she could have said!

    My mother, to this day, LOVES to retell that story.

  10. As a coincidence my husband and I went to see Julie and Julia yesterday at a matinee. I do have 4 of her cookbooks and one by Simca as well and I had purchased Julia’s “My Year in France’ but have not read it yet. I enjoyed the movie very much. I’ll tell you what I told another friend: “There were a few things that were not right for the Paris of the early 50s, for example the metro Porte des Lilas was still in its old fashioned style, but the sign “sortie” was not, it was from the late 60s and a store bag Julia used while shopping in a store was from the 70s. Some of the background music was not from the early fifties either but from the early 60s, that only a Parisian would notice and a good film editor should have checked but the movie was good. One thing though I learnt something about that senator McCarthy – he sounded paranoid, like the people who go to those hometown meetings – was he a Republican by any chance? I have to read more on him and I don’t understand why the American people let him do his evil deeds. Where they as scared as they are now?” I would recommend the movie to anyone really – I just wished there are been more on Julia and less on Julie, but that is because I like Julia so much. I was a young wife in San Francisco at the time, watching The French Chef on KQED and making some of her dishes, since at home in France I rarely cooked, my mom did all the cooking usually. A very good film.

  11. What a good post and a terrific link to a perfect review. Russ Parsons expressed it beautifully and summed up the gap that sometimes exists between the gutsy/sacrificing generation and a few spoilers who seem to come from such a place of entitlement. The book does not play well to me. It shows Julie entirely too much. The movie was BRILLIANT! Nora Ephron fixed everything that was wrong. Brava! And Brava to you for a delicious post.


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