Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Julie and Julia

Last night, my partner and I went to the local theatre to watch the 9:10 PM showing of Julie and Julia. It's the first film that I've seen in a theatre in quite some time being that I am so turned off by the ever growing price for admission to most movie theatres, not to mention concessions which I avoid like the plague. I happened to have a gift certificate that had been given to me for my birthday just 3 months ago good for two admissions. Not surprisingly, the price jumped from 8 dollars a ticket from 3 months ago to 10 dollars now so the gift certificate had become more of a discount coupon in a very short amount of time. I wanted to use it initially to see the latest Star Trek flick which didn't happen due to a rather intense schedule that I was juggling at the time. Then, I wanted to use it to see the latest Johnny Depp flick ( the name of which escapes me for the moment), but again - scheduling issues and the fact that it seemed to screen here for about 5 minutes. Nevertheless, it still only costs 2 bucks to watch the film.

So, Julie and Julia it was. As we were standing in line, we watched the previous viewers exit the theatre as they have to walk en mass pass us yet to view the film. Most of them seemed enthusiastic and a few even did the old "thumbs up" gesture. The problem was, we realized that two separate films were exiting at the same time - the new harry Potter flick and Julie and Julia. So, which films were they thumbing up? This question became particularly prescient after one exuberant fellow bellowed "You're gonna love it!". The crowd was moving too quickly to ask in passing, "Wait! What will I love?" and by the time our line began it's procession to theatre # 2, we had abandoned the idea of trying to guess who had just seen what.

Julie and Julia turned out to be a gem of a film with just a touch of schmaltziness as is to be expected in many Nora Ephron films (You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seatle - though it's an interesting tid bit that she also directed Streep in Silkwood - one of the most brilliant films of Streeps careeer in my opinion). The film is composed of two stories melded together - Julia Child's journey from bored Paris based wife of a charming diplomat in the early 1950's into that of an internationally adored chef against Julie Powell's journey through the creation of a blog documenting her process of cooking every recipe in Child's cooking masterpiece "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" within the period of one year.

Of course, Streep is simply brilliant as Julia Child as is Stanley Tucci in the role of her husband Paul Child. Amy Adams as Julie Powell and Chris Messina as her husband Eric are enjoyable on film togther and "sweet", but frankly not as compelling in the film as the segments that focus on Julia's story in my opinion. In fact, I could have watched an entire film with Streep portraying Child and have been enthralled. Of course, I would be enthralled to watch her read the back of a cereal box.

Is it an enjoyable film? Absolutely. It's cheery, humorous, uplifting, and witty and very romantic. Could you wait to watch it at home on DVD? Yes. But, if you're looking for something romantic and sweet to do with your mate on a date night, or if you like big screen versions of perfect "chick flicks" then this is worth the extra money.

Just skip the popcorn and soda.

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