Film Review: Julie & Julia

I saw Julie & Julia, Saturday, the day after it was showing nationwide. I went to see this film with my Mom. We've (or rather I've) been waiting to see this since after we first heard the movie was about to be released recently, and of course, since I first heard of the movie and the book of the same name.

I'm late with learning about Julia Child (who she was really, as honestly, I've only heard about her name but never knew who she was or what she looks, that I know or see her pics, she looks like Britain's Got Talent's Susan Boyle, does she not? lol...ok, not that I knew who she was...but you know what I mean, lol...and I'm not a cook, so I was never into cooking, but JP's book and J&J movie made me want to learn or at least be interested a lil' in cooking... maybe...) or Julie Powell (check out her own personal blog, she has a very cool and interesting blog, I've just recently started reading and following her after reading her J&J memoir) and her book (which was also, as you can see the title of this movie) and the The Julie/Julia Project, which she challenged herself with Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cook book with "365 days. 536 recipes. One girl and a crappy outer borough kitchen." Julie Powell's book was fun, entertaining, inspiring, and very funny to read. As one reviewer said, "she was like Chris Rock in the kitchen" and I couldn't agree more. I LOL a lot when I was reading the book. It was a very good book, esp. for her first time as a writer. Now, it's been made into a movie, which I thought was really cool. Not too mention, the wonderful and talented Amy Adams portrays her "Julie" in the movie and Meryl Streep plays Julia Child. So, I got excited and finished reading the book a week just before the movie was released in theaters Friday (August 7th).

Anyway, as I said...I just saw this movie and here's my long review...

Warning: Spoilers within!

Julie & Julia (2009)

starring: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci

Watch the trailer for Julie & Julia below:

[source: julieandjuliamovie]

First of all, here's a lil' synopsis of Julie & Julia:

Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and Julie Powell (Amy Adams) are featured in writer-director Nora Ephron's adaptation of two bestselling memoirs: Powell's Julie & Julia and My Life in France, by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme.

Based on two true stories, Julie & Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends...until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

I thought Julie & Julia was a great movie. It was very interesting how writer-director Nora Ephron adapted two best selling memoirs into one movie. I was thinking that the movie was based solely on Julie Powell's J&J book and that Julia Child would only be shown in flashbacks or so. But I was kinda surprised (well, the trailer made it look like Julia's part was in a flashback or something... I should've read the synopsis of the film that it was based on two memoirs not just one before watching this movie, lol...not that I was disappointed or anything ...) to find out that both their stories are being shown equally and separately, which I think was great because I haven't read Julia Child's own memoir/story. So, I'm glad that the movie was about both of their stories (not just Julie's...though I thought it was mostly in her point of view like her book, but of course, it wasn't...) and quoting the synopsis here, how J&J was about the "intertwine lives of these two women who, though separated by time and space..." are quite or strikingly similar actually and that as different their times and space had been, they were going through similar things and situations (not too mention, both used to work as a secretary for a government agencies and both have loving, caring, and understanding husbands, who were also their biggest fans and supporters) in their lives where at the beginning, they were both bored and doesn't know what to do with their lives until they did something about doing something for themselves. One (Julia Child) went to culinary school of French cooking in Paris, France to learn how to cook in the 1940s, while the other (Julie Powell) challenged herself with the Julie/Julia Project for a year with 536 recipes as well as to learn how to cook and to be a better writer.While the film adaptations are often different from the books and not always very close to its original source as a lot of people would've wanted them to be, I can definitely understand and separate the two. They are, after all, based on two true stories and I love that this film (while still close to the J&J book, the Julie Powell side, that I've read at least) was not an exact replica to the book. So, I can treat these two as separate things (but still with similar themes and as companions) like I did with the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie and its book series. I must say this movie did a great job combining two stories in one movie (and just a lil' over 2 hours too). I thought the cast in this film was excellent. Great choice of Meryl Streep as Julia Child. I just saw Julia Child French Cooking special (I think that was the name of it...) on PBS (they had a JC marathon) after seeing the movie Saturday and I thought Meryl Streep was spot on as JC. She nailed the part and was superb in the role. She really channeled JC here and was very funny (though her inner "Julia Child" voice got a lil' too annoying to hear after a while, lol). I love it when Meryl's Julia says, "Bon Appétit." Amy Adams (did not like her short hair in this film... but that's just me ... it did grew on me after seeing her more as "Julie" ...) was wonderful and was a delight to watch as Julie Powell. Though there were a few not-so-true facts about Julie Powell that Nora Ephron had added in this movie that according to the real Julie Powell were not true. If you've read Julie's J&J book, then, you know what I'm talking about or you can read what Julie wrote herself here (a lil' spoilerish, but not really) about a few things about herself. I couldn't agree with the real Julie more esp. that the movie's "Julie" was, unfortunately, not as sarcastically funny as the real Julie wrote herself to be in her memoir. But, I must say, Amy Adams (with the material written for her by Ephron) still did a great job portraying her "Julie" version in the movie. I thought she still had the traits, history, and relationship that the real Julie Powell had written herself in J&J. Personally, I love Amy Adams (she's one of my favorite actresses) and I enjoyed watching her as Julie in this movie. I love when her "Julie" said something a lil' humorous like, "I should write a blog. I have thoughts." (or something close to it) LOL! Also, when she mentions the "F word" without actually saying the "F" word, haha...she was like the sanitized version of the real Julie.Also, the actors who played the men in J&J's lives in this movie, Stanley Tucci (who co-starred with Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada) as Paul Child was entertaining and funny (I love his line to his wife Julia: "You are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life") as well as Chris Messina (who's a hottie himself...though I thought he kinda look a lil' like Eric McCormack, who played Will in "Will & Grace", is he not?) , who played Julie's husband Eric Powell was charming and so adorably cute to stare at in the big screen, lol. I love his line: "What's for dinner?" The rest of the cast were pretty good as well. Nora Ephron did a great job translating and adapting two best selling memoirs in one movie. She did great with the screenplay and directing this film. While she took liberties and changed a bit of Julie Powell's Julie and not enough Julie Powell as I would've love to have seen more (seeing as I loved and enjoyed reading the book) in this movie...after all, Julie Powell was the one who brought back attention to part of Julia Child's life and cook book recipes to our generation today that I wouldn't have known who JC was if I hadn't read her J&J book. Also, I can relate to Julie Powell (more than I can say about Julia Child, who was more in my grandmother's generation) as she lives in a modern and complicated world (with modern technologies such as blogging...she was ahead of her time as far as blogging is concern, as blogging in 2002 was not as popular as it is nowadays. I've never heard or was not much into blogging actively till about 2007 or 2008, so I have missed Julie's J/J project when she started...thankfully, she wrote a book and her J/J project blog still exists...and she kept it available for us to check it out, esp. for a lot of us who just recently discovered JP's very cool and inspiring J/J project), going through some relatable similar stuff we go through in life, and she's someone in our generation we can totally relate to in the real world.Though, I must say, the most important message or lesson I've learned from watching this movie was that with drive, will, perseverance, determination, and hard work...anything is possible...and you can achieve whatever goals/dreams/challenges you set, aspire, and desire to do so for yourself. Also, not to give up what you started especially if you know you can do it and finished something or get to the finished line. I really admired both women for their passion, their fearless will, and determination in accomplishing both of their goals/dreams in life no matter what those negative people or naysayers around them said they can't do...and with their loving and supportive husbands by their sides (lucky them), these two women were courageous, inspiring and unstoppable. I cheered and was happy to see both of them succeed whatever they were trying to accomplish in life...against all odds. They didn't give up (even when they were tempted to almost give up) and I rooted for them both to succeed. It was also nice to see that they both have loving, caring, understanding, and supportive husbands (which rarely seen in movies nowadays as often we see divorced couples portrayed in many films) who love them both for who they were (no matter what) and were with them through good times and bad. So, It made their successes even more worth it, triumphant, interesting, and inspiring because they have someone there with them that they love and who supported and encouraged them from day one.Overall, I thought this film was great, funny, entertaining, inspiring, and an all-around-feel-good movie. There were plenty of humor (mostly Julia Child's scenes and one with Dan Akroyd doing a hilarious impersonation of Julia Child on SNL...I thought that was hilarious and got the most laugh in the theater ... unfortunately, very lil' humor on Amy's "Julie" part that almost made her dull and kinda boring to watch ... as much as I love Amy Adams, lol...the real Julie Powell, I must say was more interesting to read, a very good writer and more funny, witty and mostly sarcastic in her book) and some serious scenes (that kinda made me sad about such as...spoilers alert!... when Julie worked so hard to prepare a meal for an important guest who never showed up. And then, when she received a phone call from a reporter asking for her comment or what she thought about Julia Child's disapproval of her blog, the J/J project or that "she wasn't a serious writer"... I thought those scenes were sad. Julie really thought Julia hates her, but she does not know for sure. Still, I felt for Julie as I would've felt the same way if I was in her situation. But her husband's heartfelt talk to her about doing the J/J project for herself and not to seek approval and please JC or anyone else was very touching. It helped or rather gave her confidence to overcame her said to be "meltdown" at that particular scene, which was in the book as well ... end of spoilers here!).

By the way, this movie had lots of food and eating that it almost made me hungry, lol. It
was a good thing that we brought some snacks and drinks with us, otherwise we'd starved watching this movie, ha-ha! My mother and I both enjoyed watching this film. She was telling me that she didn't expect it to be so good and that she was surprised how different it was. Guess, you can say, we have pretty much the same taste when it comes to movies like this one. We don't always agree on every movie we see together, but when it comes to this type of movie, romantic comedies, dramedy, and period movies...we often always agree. Not those action/thriller and scary/horror movies though...she's not into them esp. when they involve either blood or violence/killing humans or animals, lol.

So, yeah, back to this movie and to end my long rant/review here ... I highly recommend this movie to those of you who has read both memoirs by Julie Powell and Julia Child (or even just one of the books, like I did) as well as fans of Amy Adams and Meryl Streep as Julie & Julia. They were amazing and wonderful to watch in this film as well as their movie husbands Chris Messina and Stanley Tucci. So, go see this movie and be sure to bring snacks and drinks with you. And oh, two more things (lol)...
Have fun watching J&J and Bon Appétit!

My Julie & Julia Film Rating: ! (9.5/10; A)


Matt Gorden said…
It made me smile, laugh, and do everything a good movie should. merlyn's acting was superb. A must go movie for all!

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