Friday, August 14, 2009

Julie and Julia - The Plan

"On the table and in the kitchen." - Julia Child, on where butter belongs.

Here's the plan. Call a girlfriend, or two or three. Perhaps six would be better. Make plans to go see the movie, "Julie and Julia". Go to the early show and then to dinner afterwards. Don't eat before you go. You're going to want to let the movie jump start your appetite.

I went to an early screening with my friend and her daughter. We were so happy to be spending some time together and this seemed like the perfect choice. It was!

The movie was very good but to be honest I would have preferred an entire movie based on Julia Child's life. Poor Julie seemed as bland as white toast next to a character as colorful and dramatic as Julia.

The scenes of post-war Paris were wonderful - the clothes, the hats, the markets, the characters, the CAR!!! I want that car. Oh, and the fabulous turquoise ring that actor Stanley Tucci (portraying Paul Child) wears through the entire movie. And while we're at it, I'd also like the Child's wonderful home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The story switches back and forth between the tale of Julia's path to becoming a graduate of the Cordon Bleu and her collaboration on her famous book. Blogger Julie Powell's commitment to preparing every recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year is the second story line. The weakness of the film lies in it's premise. Julie's story would be interesting enough (blogger makes good and snags a book deal) but pales in comparison with Julia Child's dogged determination, years of work and accomplishment.

Let's not forget that on screen Meryl Streep devours young actresses. Each scene seems to drain the life out of the poor ingenues. Something's rotten in Denmark if Streep doesn't garner an Oscar nomination for this role. The fact that she was able to recreate the voice is amazing enough but I was so taken aback when in little moments she would do a little movements that were all Julia. You'd swear she was channeling her. It was uncanny.

Be sure to have dinner at someplace out of the ordinary. It doesn't have to be expensive but please, not a chain restaurant. You'll be crushed at the disappointment otherwise. Boneless chicken wings will not do after spending two hours looking at Beef Bourguignon, roasted chickens, chocolate tortes. Oh, stop me!

The discussions of food in this film will have you running to the kitchen to attempt a recipe or two. For me it was Beurre Blanc.

The movie perfectly states the idea that food is yet another connection in our relationships with others. Breaking bread, sharing a meal is the most perfect way to connect.

All in all, I say two thumbs up for this movie. Please grab a friend and check it out. Let me know what you think about it.


Stuck on Sunflowers said...

This is my very first time commenting on your blog, or any blog to be perfectly honest. You have me hooked as you are such an articulate story teller. I totally agree with you that food is such an important part of life and family and friends. Also that Julie and Julia is an awesome movie, especially when enjoyed with great friends! Bon Appetit!

Stuck on Sunflowers said...

This is my very first time commenting on your blog, or any blog to be perfectly honest. You have me hooked as you are such an articulate story teller. I totally agree with you that food is such an important part of life and family and friends. Also that Julie and Julia is an awesome movie, especially when enjoyed with great friends! Bon Appetit!

Susan said...

I am looking forward to this movie. I knew Meryl Streep was the perfect one to portray Julia. In every movie she has ever made, she has been able to change her voice and accent to perfection. Remember Sophie's Choice"?

cityfarmer said...

my daughter and I went last Sunday aft.
loved loved loved it, will see it again, and then will purchase it for the dvd library ...I have soooooo few!!!

I'm a movie snob!

Kitty said...

Being of Greek heritage, food has always been a huge part of any get-together or event. Learning to cook and appreciate different foods is a wonderful way to expand your knowledge beyond the local grocery store and chain restaurant offerings. I haven't seen J & J yet, but hope to soon!

Karen Deborah said...

I can't wait and you have given a very thoughtful and well written review.
Blest be the bread that binds us together!

Rue said...

Hi Suzanne :)

I am dying to see this movie! Everyone seems to love it :)

BTW, we have a winner for the apron!


bv said...

i commented a little early-yesterday-on J&J so i'll just do it again. you and i will have to have a tuggle war over that car! when i grow up i am going to be a set decorator. This set was to die for. everything was so perfect! and, yes, meryl is amazing. you forget that she is playing a role. she becomes julia. what i loved most was her unchecked enthusiasm. i strive to live life with that joy. i did go with a group of foodie and we are going to have a J&J party...all in all it was a wonderful way to spend a HOT afternoon.

Clayvessel said...

Your first paragraph- that's exactly what I did. I emailed my best cooking friends and we went on Wednesday.

One caterer, one former caterer and still the best cook in the universe, my neighbor who has a home-delivery, homemade soup business, myself (I make wedding cakes), my youngest daughter and my catering friend's visiting French exchange student. We all loved it. We went to the 3:15 show and afterwards I asked- "So now do you feel like eating or cooking?" and everyone said, "Both!"

We walked down the street to a fabulous bistro and over glasses of local wine and wonderful food like seared tuna, curried cashew chicken, and carrot ginger coconut soup we talked about Julia Child, food and friendship.

Deb said...

Thank you so much! I was on the fence about whether to see this movie or not and you pushed me off. I'm going to see it.

Have a great weekend!

Vickie said...

I already have a girls-night-out planned for this movie! I'm SO looking forward to it - I love Meryl Streep and my hubby could care less for chick flicks!

What is a get-together with family and friends unless you can share great food, great memories, and great conversation!

LDF said...

We're going to see it tonight! Our plan was to do dinner first ... thanks for the heads up! Dinner plans now appropriately change.

Jackie said...

I saw the movie last weekend and am going back this weekend to see it again! Meryl Streep is a riot in this role...I agree, she must have channeled Julia Child since her performance was spot-on. A wonderfully funny movie when Meryl was on screen.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the acting abilities of Meryl Streep. Have yet to see her in a role that she did not master. And she's so flippin' gorgeous ta boot! Thanks for the review!


Anonymous said...

"You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life"

That is my favorite quote from the movie... how tender, how sweet, how loving Paul and Julia were to one another always.

Food is, always has been and always will be important to my life. Big family gatherings always centered around food; now my husband and I garden and put our food "up" together. He hunts for food...I go with him. I cook and he sits in his comfy chair in the kitchen keeping me company and talking.

There is so much to say on this topic, but my tomatoes stewing on the stove are calling my name.

Thank you for your wonderful blog-

Susan Z
Acworth, GA

Sarah - Kala said...

I read the book and it had very little of Julia's life in it and when I saw the trailers for the film, I thought the film would show much much more of Julia's story . . . the book was too modern for me in many ways. I did not like the author's crass language and rude references to sex, in particular. BUT, I would like to see the film, esp. after reading your review.

Laura said...

I saw it and have a current post devoted to it! Great minds think alike-


dina said...

Here I sit in the hospital. Don't you think it should be standard operating procedure that movies that I *desperately* want to see should be available to me here - from the (ahem) comfort of my hospital bed, while I have actual time on my hands?! Doesn't that only seem right? I mean, hello - just think what my hospital bill will be - couldn't they sneak a current film or two in there?

Darn it all - your review was fabulous - I can't wait to get out of here and go see it!

Lisa Stone said...

Looks like a good movie. Can't wait to see it.