Meryl Streep is always a draw for me, and the previews had me anticipating the movie. Finally, a plot not involving comic book heroes! Julia Child is an icon--of sorts. If the whole movie had just focused on her it would have been perfect. Streep captures Child's charming,effervescent personality without parody. Her chemistry with Stanley Tucci as husband Paul is enchanting. The Child portions takes us back to France and the time period through mannerisms, clothing, ambiance. I was transported by the script, the fabulous acting, and the great editing.
As for the Julie part. If that had been a movie on its own. I probably would have waited for the DVD and then maybe skipped it. If Nora Ephron meant to show the juxtaposition between yesteryear and the two women, she most certainly achieved it. Julie Powell comes off as insecure and whiny when compared to Julia's approach of embracing life, be it good or bad. Julia wrote a cookbook, taking several years to do so, because it needed to be done and it was recognized for what it was-genius. Julie, is inspired by Julia, yet one gets the feeling food and cooking are a means of achieving something--a tension release, a means to fame, unlike Julia who had a true passion for food. Julia's rapture for food as she shopped and visited with all the merchants reminded me of an artist at work, preparing the canvas and relishing her skills. Julie, on the other hand, gave the impression of tackling a task, climbing the mountain because it is there, so to speak. Where is the appreciation? the savoring? the meaning? It would be interesting to explore the reasons behind Julia Child's lack of embrace for Julie Powell's blog.
As a whole the movie is delightful, and go if you haven't. The Julia portion is the backbone of the movie and the Julie portion adds moments, yet is the weaker portion. I do want to mention how much Chris Messina added to the concept of supporting husband with reality. I look forward to the DVD, in hopes of featurettes.