I saw the movie “Julie and Julia” this evening. It’s about a young aspiring writer and cook named Julie Powell who decided to find some purpose in her life by cooking every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogging about her effort. It’s also about Julia Child herself, highlighting her years in France and her efforts to become a cook of French cuisine. The two stories take place simultaneously through the movie, even though there was a time difference of over 50 years between them. It’s an interesting way to highlight the similarities and the differences between the two women.
I heartily recommend the movie, especially to those who have seen and heard Julia Child. Meryl Streep is, as usual, wonderful. Anyone who has seen Julia Child and heard her speak will be amazed at the performance offered up by Streep. Having never been really interested in French cooking myself, or cooking in general (other than fried eggs and grilled burgers), I never spent much time watching Julia Child’s TV show. I saw just enough of her to wonder which planet she called home. I always thought she was a bit of a flake, and that she must have been born the klutz that she appeared to be on TV. No one could have achieved that level of clumsy and goofy without having a good portion of it etched into their genes to begin with.
The movie presents the personal side of Child; her relationship with her beloved husband and the difficulties she encountered while trying to learn the French language and French cooking. Streep is a great actress and, for the two hours of this movie, made me believe I was watching Julia Child herself.
Amy Adams plays the role of Julie Powell. Powell works for a government agency interacting with and assisting the families of victims of the terrorist attack of 9/11. Her job is stressful and doesn’t make full use of her abilities. She loves to cook and write and, with her husband’s help, decides to try to take on the cooking and blogging task that becomes the driver of the plot.
One scene includes the classic take on Julia Childs by Dan Aykroyd on Saturday Night Live. If you’ve never seen it, it alone is worth the price of the movie ticket. If you don’t want to watch the movie just to see Aykroyd be Julia Child, you can see it here after watching a short commercial.
I wonder if the Julia Child’s TV show “The French Chef” is available on DVD. Oh, I guess it is!