As soon as I heard about "Julie & Julia," a movie about learning to cook from a pro as well as how that pro learned to cook, I knew I had to see it. As Julie's husband says in the movie: "She wasn't always Julia Child."
I remember reading a little piece on this movie and how Julia Child became the big thing she is today back in the spring in a Newsweek summer movie preview. Naturally, I was intrigued; Child is pretty much the mother of what you see on the Food Network.
However, I decided I had to see this film when I read the line that "Nora ('Bewitched') Ephron hasn't directed anything worth seeing in 10 years." I love to prove a pessimist wrong. Eat it, Newsweek.
"Julie & Julia," starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, puts the struggle of two women living decades apart side by side as they struggle to accomplish their goals; Julia learning Le Cordon Bleu cooking and attempting to write and publish what will become "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" with her two new friends, and Julie writing a blog about cooking her way through Child's book to try and bring a little more meaning to her life -- maybe even get published. Also noteworthy are the men behind them, with Stanley Tucci as Paul Child and Chris Messina as Eric Powell.
The movie parallels the lives of these two women, who both love to cook, have supportive husbands (well, 90 percent of the time) who love them, have set a goal, and are struggling to accomplish it. Julia goes through endless rewrites of the cookbook and multiple job transfers for Paul, while Julie has to cope with the initial skepticism of those around her about "The Julie/Julia Project." The first comment on her blog is almost an "I-told-you-so" from her mom. However, these women don't give up (although Julie did eat yogurt one night).
The acting in this movie is superb, and the climate, social and political, in which Julia decided to learn to cook, and later help Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck write the first book of its kind because a) she loved to eat, especially all the French food she was eating living in Paris for Paul's job, and b) there were no French cookbooks in English, is well represented. McCarthyism is touched on, as is French snobbery for Americans at its most classic.
Then, as we switch back to the present, Julie's world in Queens and the commute to Manhattan for her job is amusingly portrayed. The emotional tensions which the characters face are portrayed realistically, but at the same time tug on the heartstrings. On both sides, the script has so many funny little lines and scenes as the characters interact.
The F-bomb is dropped once, by Paul, and sex between the two married couples is alluded to -- other than that, this PG-13 film is pretty clean.
Oh, and the food -- I want to buy Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" just so I can eat those dishes! Everything is so mouthwatering, especially the duck in what looks like pastry. See this movie after you have eaten well -- or bring snacks!
Lindsey Larson will be a senior at Roy High School this fall. She enjoys reading, writing, Broadway, watching movies, cooking and hanging with friends. E-mail her at email@example.com.