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Monday, August 10, 2009

Julie & Julia [Movie Monday]

Movie Monday is a weekly feature that highlight a movie every Monday. I watch a lot of movies, so this is my way to share my "expertise" with you. In the inaugural Movie Monday post I will be reviewing the new movie Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

Two amazing women, mouth-watering food, and a great story are what make up Nora Ephron's new movie, Julie & Julia. What started out as a story about cooking and eating delicious food turns into a story about self-discovery and empowerment.

Meryl Streep steals the show with her portrayal of Julia Child. Amy Adams plays Julie Powell, a 30-year-old woman trying to reinvent and find herself after she realizes that she hasn't really reached any of her goals.

Julia Child herself was a pretty amazing woman. She loved to eat good food so took it upon herself to go to cooking school to learn
how to make delicious food. She faced her all male class at Le Cordon Bleu and thrived. She stood up to the school's administrator. She wrote a cookbook and didn't give up on getting it published.

Julie Power, on the other hand, was pretty unremarkable until she set on this road of self-discovery. She started a project, with a correlating blog, dedicated to cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year. 365 days
, 524 recipes. Of course she didn't know it was about self-discovery when she started, she just wanted to do something with her life. Powell found herself in the life and recipes of Julia Child.

And the other main character -- the food. I love cooking so I melted like the pounds of butter they went through during all of the cooking scenes. And I'm pretty sure I started to drool in the theater because the food looked so good!

I was told that the review of Julie & Julia on NPR's Fresh Air said that there was no character development. I don't know what they were thinking about. Julie Powell went from a shy, self-depricating woman to someone who is confident and loves life, all through her connection with food and Julia Child. Julia Child went from a secretary and someone's wife to developing a passion for cooking and making a name for herself. There's plenty of character development.

And now on to some of my favorite parts of the movie:
  • Any scene with Meryl Streep: she's one of my favorite actresses. As Julia Child, she was charismatic and funny. I was laughing throughout all her scenes.
  • Changing the song "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads (one of my favorite Talking Heads songs) to "Lobster Killer"
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub: I love her in whatever she does and her relationships with Julie Powell reminded me at points of my relationships with one of my friends
  • The promotion of blogging as a form of self-expression
I think is movie is definitely feminist. It's made by and starring some awesome women. It's all about finding your passions, doing what you love, and finding yourself along the way. Part of my values in feminism are all about the right to self-expression as well as allowing and encouraging women to follow their dreams and do what they love.

I highly recommend this movie. It's well made and has a good message. When I saw it, the theater was packed, primarily with middle aged women. But this is definitely a movie for all ages (well, maybe not all -- there are sexual references and cursing) and sexes. Finding yourself and doing what you love should be a message that everyone should get behind!

Further Reading:
Julia & Julia By the Numbers [Women & Hollywood]
Julie & Julia Need More Julia, Only a Dash of Julie [Jezebel]
Julie & Julia [Women & Hollywood]
Julie & Julia: A Film Review [Entertainment Realm]


Dawn. said...

Very nice review. This movie sounds like a breath of fresh air. I'm really excited to see it!

Amanda said...

I absolutely adored this movie (I also saw it with a bunch of middle-aged women in the theater!). What I also really enjoyed was how it demonstrated two strong marriages that both experienced their trials and tribulations. And how supportive (and feminist!) were those husbands! Sigh. Loved it.

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