Monday, August 10, 2009

See "Julie and Julia" for Good Laugh

Who of us doesn't need a good laugh in these uncertain times? Solution: See "Julie and Julia" ASAP.

Meryl Streep is brilliant in this and I very much liked Amy Adams as Julie as well. Despite some critics' unhappiness with the casting of the two husbands, I thought they were just right. I don't know how long the movie is but the time just raced away and before you could say "Bon Appetit!" it was over.

It brought back nice memories of my father. We shared a few physical characteristics, a love of learning, and an offbeat sense of humor, but he was impossible to get close to, silent, and standoffish. Every week, though, we watched Julia Child's TV show together. No sooner did she open her mouth than we were laughing, and we didn't stop until after her signature close of "Bon Appetit!"

Finally I developed a pretty fair imitation of Julia which was guaranteed to make my father break up. We loved her clumsiness, her "careful measuring" of the wine, flour all over her kitchen, and the way she absentmindedly patted a chicken as she explained what she intended to do with it.

Best of all, Julia Child was herself, no matter what, which is what makes Meryl Streeps's characterization of her so funny in this movie. I also appreciated how the movie showed the fact that she and her husband Paul absolutely adored each other and were always supportive of each other. Strangely enough, I hadn't realized Paul Child came under suspicion during the McCarthy era and how his diplomatic career went downhill afterward even though he was cleared.

The parallel story of Julie Powell and her husband was charming and funny. Having tried a couple of Julia Child's recipes myself many years ago, I know how difficult they are. I can only admire someone who managed to cook every recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" while holding down a full-time job, a husband, and a cat. Bravo!

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