Sunday, August 16, 2009

Julie & Julia - Movie Thoughts

Am I done with the Julie & Julia post now that film has come out?

It's hard to say, and I make no promises.

As I have lunged into the 2009 film season, no film has been so pleasurable to research that this film. At the conclusion of this post you will see links to related post that have led me to read both books this film is adapted from, research both of these women's life stories, and make recipes from Julia's cookbook. It even led me to watch another film related film from the 1940s (Christmas in Connecticut).

So some might wonder...what did I think of the movie?

Two Source Materials - Did it work? Should they have been separate stories? Should Julie Powell's story been left out?
I make no qualms in my review of the two source books that Julia Child's life is far more engaging and interesting that Powell's life story.

Originally I thought the movie was only going to be about Powell, but instead Nora Ephron crafted a delicious treat in covering both of these stories.

I have read some reviews that praise Meryl Streep's performance and claim that the film should have just focused on Child and left Amy Adam's portrayal of Julia Powell out completely.

I say "no." Child's story is far more engaging and interesting, but it is Julie Powell who helps create some contemporary relevancy to this story that makes Child's life work taken on modern importance, and accessibility for any one.

And to be honest, if it wasn't for Powell's work, there would probably be no film at all, and with no film, how would I have ever had thought of researching Julia and Paul Child and become utterly enthralled with their incredible story.

Accuracy to the books?
More or less the story was accurate. The biggest inaccuracy I saw was in the taming down of Julie Powell, and eliminating some of the course language and attitudes that come through in her blog and book.

Additionally, I felt like there was certainly some story-line adjustments for Julie Powell in the order recipes were cooked, and completed, as well as her inspiration for writing a blog.

Who deserves praise in the film?
Praise is deserved by Meryl Streep of course, who is so talented -- Oscar nomination 16 is surely on the way. Streep is amazing for her versatility of roles, is any other female as bankable as her (think Devil Wear's Prada, Mamma Mia, Julie & Julia) what other female is bringing in the dough like Meryl? And not just that, she's 60 years old!

Also Nora Ephron deserves praise for her exceptional story telling - there is a lot of story to tell, and she uniquely ties these two stories together, and with Streep & Adams sharing no screen time, she tells this story is such a logic and cohesive way.

Additionally, I was impressed with Alexander Despalt's film score, as well as the set and production design between the two settings.

Finally, Adams does a great job. And hats off to Stanley Tucci who should always co-star with Meryl Streep (Devil Wears Prada and now this film). They have unique and adaptable screen chemistry.

Previous Post on StrangeCulture that are in some-way related to this film:


Courtney Small said...

I may have to check this one out. How does it compare to films such as Big Night, Like Water for Chocolate, Chocolat, etc?

mae said...

We went last night and I REALLY enjoyed it! Some good laughs and we are having aspic for dinner tonight!!!