Socorro Movie Review: Julie and Julia
Julie and Julia
Directed by Nora Ephron
Starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams
Showing at 7 p.m. nightly, at the Loma Theater
Julie & Julia is a movie telling two true stories: Julia Child's rise from bureaucrat's wife to cookbook author mogul, and anonymous blogger Julie Powell finding inspiration in Julia Child's book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Considering its narrative (jumping between Child's life primarily in the 50's and 60's, and Powell's life in 2002), it works to draw parallels between the two's experiences, navigating publishing literature in two very different eras. As I watched this movie I kept getting flashbacks to Sleepless in Seattle, which is unsurprising as Ephron was writer and director for that film as well. So, she turns in an effort consistent with her past works, which is admirable. I felt a strong imbalance in the two different stories contained in this film, since Child's side of the movie was heavy with talent and star power, while Powell's side suffered a bit with both. That's not to say Powell's side of the story was lacking in talent, but when you go against Streep, Stanley Tucci (as Child's husband Paul), Linda Emond (as Simone Beck), and Jane Lynch (with an all too brief, though thoroughly enjoyable stint as Julia's sister), the outcome is predictable.
As always Meryl Streep is the focal point of the movie. Her portrayal of Julia Child is uncanny, and as has been my experience with her films before: she single-handedly carries a movie with incomprehensible ease. She is complemented well with her side of the cast (including her 2 co-author's from Mastering The Art of French Cooking in addition to those mentioned above), drawing attention to the fact that the other half of the story is just not nearly as interesting. I found myself anxiously waiting for Powell's side of the story to wrap up, so I could catch up with Child's side of the movie. This is where the movie really failed for me. I really liked Streep's turn as Julia Child, but I cringed when it jumped to Julie Powell's side of the story.
One thing that piqued my interest on the Powell side of the story: Ephron made a point of prominently featuring 3 large (1 huge, 2 only massive) red and white striped smokestacks, hanging ominously over Powell's 2nd floor apartment (over a pizza parlor!) I couldn't for the life of me figure out the significance of these ever-present observers. It wasn't until I was introduced to Child's 2 co-authors that the symbolism of the trio sunk in.
To sum it up: Streep marginally saves this movie, but I won't be watching it again. I will tell you, its potential as a date movie is high, but as a husband of more then 10 years, this doesn't carry much weight personally.
Editor's note: I also saw the film, and for the most part agree with our critic's review. However, compared to some of the recent fare at the Loma (Transformers II, GI Joe, etc.), this film was a breath of fresh air. So, while it was by no means great, it was at least a welcome change of pace.