Sunday, August 30, 2009

Julie & Julia. Or Julia & Julia. Whichever.

"Moonlight Serenade" played on the jukebox at the Cobblestone Pub about 9/10 of a mile from home. It’s been a glorious day, clear skies, hot without oppression. The Sunday domestic needfuls done, I gave myself the gift of walking the mile and change to Forest Hills to see “Julie and Julia” (whichever order).

What a delightful film. Of course Streep is perfection, I expected no less. This is just her cup of tea. And Stanley Tucci as her husband Paul – those two work so well together, I’ll see anything with the two of them. I’ve heard some disparagement of Amy Adams’ performance in comparison, but such criticism is, in my opinion, unfounded. Amy Adams does an excellent job as Julie Powell. Julie is just not as interesting as Julia. How could she be – she’s 30, a would-be writer living in NYC in the 21st century. Been there, seen that, and it's only the first decade.

Julia was in the OSS during WW2. She didn’t meet Paul in her 20s but in her 40s. She lived in Asia and Europe before she attempted to write anything. Julia was original, Julia was one of a kind. Julie thought she had something to say before she had even survived 30. I understand, I turned 30 once, too – although I enjoyed it as the beginning of a new and potentially better decade than my 20s had been, rather than a mark to dread as Julie and her friends do. Julie Powell felt unfulfilled most particularly in comparison to her bitchy, snotty, thoroughly unpleasant so-called friends from college. I mean, really, who would want to be like them. So much for college friendships.

Julie’s accomplishment of cooking out of Julia’s cookbook over one year is nothing compared to Julia’s, but that is hardly Adams’ fault. Julie is just what she is. Chris Messina as Eric Powell, is, well to me, rather unreal as Julie’s husband Eric. He’s so damned amiable, without an ounce of condescension in him. I guess the real guy meant it when he told his wife not to write about him in her blog because I don’t know who that man really was. Again though, the actor was fine. That’s the character he was given.

I felt Julie’s pain when 90 year old Julia reportedly showed no appreciation for her blog. But, really, can we even assume that Julia understood what a blog was, let alone that she read it to understand Julie’s goals? And why should she care. Still, I heard the breaking crystal inside Julie when she heard the disapproval. Adams can do that – she’s very good. Give her time. And a better role.

I’d read of Julia and Paul, and fell in love with them as a couple during this movie. Not to mention falling in love with post-war Paris in the years the Childs spent in there. Take me away!

The final credits ran by too fast for me to search out each character – thank goodness for -- but I was able to catch the name of the actor who did such a wonderful job as the phone voice of Julie’s mom: Mary Kay Place (also seen in the trailers for an upcoming Streep film). Glad to hear her.

The movie may not be deep but it’s tremendously enjoyable and a lovely way to spend two hours. I cook, but I don’t have Julia’s book. Maybe I need to pick it up. She’s even more enticing after Streep’s portrait. As for Streep: Long may she reign.

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