Skip to main content

JULIE & JULIA - A Review, Sort Of

The Southern Woman That I Married and I had a date last week. Yes, after nearly 40 years together we occasionally date. We have to. We're busy folks. If we want to be certain to spend time together, time that does not involve the television, we make a date.

But I digress...

TSWTIM and I went to see Julie & Julia last week. We are both great fans of Julia Child. TSWTIM because she learned to cook in great part thanks to her Francophile Uncle Johnny, who in turn provided his sister, TSWTIM's mother, with several French cookbooks and urged her to use them. Me because I learned to eat at an early age. And for both of us, Julia's unapologetically enthusiastic style of cooking that embraces richness of flavor and, more importantly, BUTTER satisfies our culinary needs.

But I digress…

TSWTIM informs me that the movie is reasonably faithful to the book. That is, the movie moves between the lives of Julia Child and Julie Powell. Julia, beloved wife of mid-level diplomat Paul Child, refused to play the part of a bored diplomat’s wife with too much time on her hands and, with the unwavering support of her husband, changed the landscape of the American palate through her love for French cuisine and her desire to pass that love on to her countrywomen. Hence, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a seminal cookbook in the lives of many American women of a certain generation. Julie Powell was a bored low-level bureaucrat whose modern marriage, like so many, seemingly consisted of rooming with a man with whom she had sex. Bored with the job, her friends and, presumably, the man and the sex, Julie decides to cook all of the recipes in Julia’s magnum opus and blog about the experience.

Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, and the players who surround them are simply marvelous. How does Meryl do it? At one and the same time you are keenly aware that Meryl is playing a part and that she is so immersed in the part that she’s no longer Meryl. How DOES she do it?

The young folks who play Julie and her ilk are who they are…who TSWTIM tells me they clearly are in the book…self-centered, uninteresting Gen-(Pick a letter)ers.

Thus, the movie is an exercise in schizophrenia…periods of engrossing, wondrous acting alternating with periods of wondering why we should care about the people on the screen. If I were a mental health professional suggesting a cure for this illness, I would prescribe radical surgery, the excision of all things Julie, leaving twice as much room for the lives of Julia and Paul. It wouldn’t have been true to the book but it would have been one hell of a movie.

As it is, Julie & Julia is well worth watching.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAND CAFE OCCITAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

  We made our way to a new restaurant the other day, up toward the hills past La Liviniere in the small town of Felines-Minervois. None of our party had been there before, but a friend had visited and said that she'd enjoyed it. She's a vegetarian. First clue. Now don't get me wrong. I have no gripe with those who choose to go meatless. I understand the environmental concerns and I understand the horrors of factory farming. But I also understand that form follows function in the design of tools, in the design of appliances, and in the design of human teeth. Our incisors and canines did not develop over the course of hundreds of thousands of years to rend the flesh of a fresh-caught broccoli. We are omnivores by design, Darwinian design. And I enjoy eating omni. Enough preamble... I never went inside the Grand Cafe Occitan. A young lady who would be our server met us at the front door of the nicely pointed old stone house, leading us to a pebble-covered courtyard on the side

THINKING OUT LOUD...

GRACE SLICK, BREXIT AGAIN, SELF CHECKOUT, AND MORE: #18

    GRACE SLICK I just listened again to Volunteers , the last Jefferson Airplane album with the 'classic' lineup. 1969. Perfect. Sometimes sloppy. Sometimes over dramatic. But perfect. And Grace Slick. Grace. Slick. Perfect. BREXIT & CONSERVATISM Except for the 30% or so who've drunk the Kool-Aid, can we all agree that Brexit is not working out as advertised? And that the Republican Party in the USofA has sold its soul to a cadre of authoritarians who think they are the true small-d-democrats but who don't want everybody to have a vote and won't abide by a vote that they don't like? How did it happen that, in the name of political conservatism, two countries put into power incompetent leaders financed by greedy elites? And I just read that Michael Gove thinks that Liz Truss is toast because her agenda has been shredded. Whose agenda has been shredded more thoroughly than Gove’s and why would any thinking person be interested in his opinions except to liste