Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Movie Reviews: JULIE & JULIA
JULIE & JULIA
A frustrated temp secretary (Amy Adams) embarks on a year-long culinary quest to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She chronicles her trials and tribulations in a blog that catches on with the food crowd. The film also covers the years Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) spent in Paris during the 1940s and 1950s, when he was a foreign diplomat who was eventually investigated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy for alleged communist ties.
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond
Director: Nora Ephron
Opened August 7, 2009.
Runtime: 2 hr. 3 min.
Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and brief strong language
Genres: Comedy, Domestic Comedy
Julie & Julia is a fun and light look at 2 women separated by time and space. Based on 2 separate books, Julia Child’s memoir My Life in France and the titular Julie & Julia by Julie Powell, writer director Nora Ephron tries her best to meld these 2 stories into a coherent narrative. It’s a mixed bag mainly because Julia Child’s story is far more intriguing than Powell’s. That’s not to say Powell’s segments are terrible but they just feel closer to your standard Rom-com territory ala some of Ephron’s other directorial efforts. The two women are vastly different and while the film tries to connect them as much as possible it feels forced. The Child segments, helped by a truly inspired turn by Meryl Streep, are delightful throughout and really give insight to this woman who was larger than life both literally and figuratively. Streep captures her mannerism and voice perfectly but also projects the drive and warmth Child possessed. Stanley Tucci matches her step by step as Child’s loving husband. Tucci and Streep have tangible chemistry and they do a wonderful job of giving the audience a peek at Child’s marriage. Special notice has to be given to Jane Lynch as Child’s sister, her appearance comes and goes much too quickly but Lynch hits the mark the entire time. When the film shifts back to 2002 and Powell, Amy Adams does a fairly impressive job with a far less glamorous role. ..Adams.. does a solid job of capturing Powell’s neuroticism coupled with her massive mood swing during the course of her journey. ..Adams.. does her best but, as written, Powell is a tad unlikable and it’s difficult for the audience to connect with her the way they should. It might also just be a case of Child being painted as an almost saintly figure throughout. Chris Messina does yeoman work as Powell’s husband and makes his support and love of his wife palpable and believable to the audience. As mentioned before Powell is a fairly interesting character but when compare to someone of Child’s stature and accomplishments it’s hard to maintain the same level of interest. Ephron does the best she can with these two stories but when the film finishes its 2 hour runtime you can’t help but think that Child deserved her own stage.