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Julie and Julia: Inspiration For Life, Cooking

October 26, 2009

I started off my day by seeing a morning viewing of Julie&Julia, a movie I’ve been secretly wanting to see for months. I thought that the 10 a.m showtime would give me some space to stretch out and enjoy, but apparently even having to get up early won’t stop New Yorkers from getting something half off. The place was packed, but that’s besides the point.

I can’t really think of any better way to say it: this movie was great. It had me smiling and laughing the whole way through. Before I even saw it, I knew this movie would have a special place in my heart because these past few months I’ve developed a passion for cooking that I knew these women would understand. Dinnertime became the most anticipated point of the day when I could set myself up in the kitchen and lose myself in this meditative act of creating something that just happened to be delicious. The film celebrates this connection that people have been stumbling upon for centuries.

But you don’t have to be a cook of any level to enjoy this movie (although whatever you do, don’t come to the theater without snacks, because it will make you very, very hungry). It is not one, but two inspirational stories of women making themselves who they want to be. And while neither worked their way up “against the odds,” like so many of similar stories tend to be, I almost prefer it this way. It makes the message even more tangible. I don’t have to wage some great battle to be great, I can pick a dream, make a plan and accomplish it, just like Julie and Julia. And the fact that they both chose dreams that combined writing and cooking only made thing even better.

I don’t have to go on about how excellent Meryl Streep’s performance was, because that’s really never a matter of debate. Just know that it was wonderful, and let’s move on to how great everyone else was too. I particularly loved Stanley Tucci’s performance as Julia Child’s husband (although sometimes it was difficult watching the two of them together and not seeing Miranda Priestly and Nigel). And, usually I find Amy Adams a bit too saccharine for my tastes, but I thought she was very charming and relatable in her role as Julie Powell. I’ve read a few reviews that found her character too whiny and that they almost wish her story could’ve been cut out altogether. Yes, I did enjoy Julia Child’s story more, but I loved how the two parts played off each other, and I did not see Julie as whiny and annoying. Sure, she had a few meltdowns but can we blame the poor girl when something she put so much effort, time, and money into completely fails (as it will time and time again throughout the film)? Give her a break. If anything, I thought she got a bit self-absorbed as her blog’s popularity soared but, again, I think this is pretty realistic and understandable. And she even admits to it later on in a fight with her husband, which somehow made it even more forgivable.

Don’t be scared away from Julie and Julia if you’re not a cook. Like Julia Child’s book, the movie makes the love of food and cooking accessible and graciously leaves the foodie in-jokes to a minimum. Come see the film for the lovable characters and inspirational stories, and leave with a plan to make a really good dinner when you get home. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going into the kitchen now. And I think I may never come out.

Originally written August 8, 2009

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