Monday, April 25, 2011

Julie and Julia

I just finished watching the movie, Julie and Julia. I am a big fan of Meryl Streep's work, and I wanted to see her rendition of Julia's unique way of speaking, sort of slurred and throaty. I didn't know it was a Nora Ephron film till I saw the opening credits. This gave me a sense of "yes" in my choice of titles, because I've loved many of the films she has written or directed. My instincts were correct. It was a wonderful film, entwining two true stories: how Julia Child became a French chef and wrote her famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and about a woman named Julie who decided to take a year to go through that book, cooking up the 524 recipes, and blogging about her experiences.

My exposure to Julia Child has been limited yet typical, I think. I grew up seeing her show on PBS once in a while and had the prejudiced impression she was a lush, like a kitchen drinker. She was the brunt of many a joke and comedic skit, and imitated (often cruelly) by a large number of professional comedians on TV. I didn't take her too seriously, as a result, and I certainly didn't feel much respect for her craft or lifework. I went into viewing this film with more respect for Meryl Streep than the character she was to embrace on screen, something I am ashamed to admit, now, after watching the story.

I loved the movie. I loved Meryl's performance; she made me love Julia. If this representation of Julia is accurate, I would have loved Julia (had I known her personally) and I would have tried cooking French cuisine when I was younger, hands down. (Although, I have to admit it baffles me she was a smoker. Aren't smokers supposed to have killed their taste buds or something? This is my only criticism of the woman.) Her enthusiasm for life, and loving food, people, Paris, and challenges must have influenced nearly everyone she met.

I am greatly tempted to go out and buy her book, at long last, even though I have nearly completely given up cooking myself at this point in my life. If menopause ever finishes, I might even want to start cooking again, to be able to enjoy all those really seemingly delicious recipes the actors got to eat in that movie. I really, truly hope their ecstasy wasn't acting but simply the reflection of really delicious dishes, I could also cook for my husband (a diehard fan of all things French) at home.

Further, the blogging part of the movie gave me a kick in the butt about expressing myself on this blog as well, which I haven't been very interested in doing for the past year or more. I would have to say the movie inspired me to speak up. Yes, it was an inspirational film, no question.

If you haven't seen it yet (although I doubt anyone else out there is as behind in their movie-viewing as I am), promise me you will. It really is worth it. Viva la France! Viva la Julia! Viva Nora Ephron films!

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