Thursday, December 31, 2009

Julie and Julia

Back in my teen years, my mother grew a bit bored with the roast beef and meatloaf meals she had been cooking for decades. We were less than gracious about what we called her "gourmet cooking" but I don't recall refusing to eat what was served. I think she favored the Galloping Gourmet over Julia Child, but it was impossible to be alive in America back then and not to know who Julia Child was. Her style was as unique as William F. Buckley's.

Meryl Streep's Julia ranks right up there with Philip Seymour Hoffman's Capote and Kate Blanchett's Dylan and Hepburn. It would have been so easy to paint Julia's large personality with ridicule or farce, but that line was not crossed.

Briefly, the movie is about Julia Child's path to becoming a famous chef juxtaposed with Julie Powell's blog about cooking every recipe from Julia's first book in the course of a year. Quite frankly, I would have been happy with more of the former and less of the latter. While Julia is a cultural icon, Julie is a pop phenomenon, and a not very interesting one at that. I have to give her kudos, though, for being able to bone a duck.

Amy Adams played Julie. She is one those actresses who morph enough with each role that I don't pick up on the fact that I have seen her in other movies, including important films like "June Bug" and "Doubt". Ditto Stanley Tucci as Paul. I raked over his filmography, trying to figure out just where I've seen him before. It appears I've seen him all over the place, but not in any roles that stick in my mind.

This movie could have been the story of a great romance. I wish someone loved me the way Paul loved Julia. And I wish I loved someone like Julia loved Paul. Maybe I need to cultivate a big personality, a grating falsetto, and a love of French cooking.

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