I took my mother to see Julie and Julia today. It was a delightful movie that some will dismiss as merely a "Chick Flick". While it definitely targets a female audience, there are moments worth savoring by both sexes.
The story holds no genuine surprises or twists, it is simply a nice, gentle, enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon. The film follows Julia Child during the post-war years, before her husband retired from Foreign Service (State Departments) postings abroad and they moved to Massachusetts. At the same time it interweaves with Julia's story, the story of Julie Powell. Julie is a young married woman who is down on herself for her failure to publish her novel and picks up the project of cooking through Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogging about it as a writing project. Her adventures in this cooking endeavour, in a tiny NYC apartment are fun -- and the "lobster" scene is even better than the clip of it seen in the ads for the movie. The switches between Julie and Julia are occasionally a bit rough, but generally well-timed.
The true delight of the movie, however, is Meryl Streep as Julia Child - a delicious pleasure. I left the theatre wanting to buy the book she wrote about her years in France. And Stanley Tucci as Julia's husband, Paul, is no mere straight man to Streep's powerful Julia. Together, they make an onscreen couple who seem so comfortable with each other, exactly as a husband and wife should be. The best line of the movie is one that brings some contemporary issues into stark relief and points up the differences between Julia and Julie. Julia Child always knew, I believe, what a blessing her husband was to her. And, if the movie is true in this respect, knew how things properly go between a man and a woman. At a dinner party in their Paris apartment she turns to him at one point and says, quite simply, "What would I have done if you hadn't fallen in love with me?"
And that's really it, isn't it?
Not a great movie, nevertheless, a delightful afternoon diversion.