Julie & Julia

Watching Julie & Julia was a great culinary experience – it makes you really hungry by the time you finish the movie – and you are inspired to give cooking a shot if you haven’t done it already !! However, more than just a collection of gourmet shots, Julie & Julia works very well in cataloguing the life of its two protagonists – blogger Julie Powell and celebrated cook Julia Child.

Connected by only their love for food – and nothing else (they never meet), the movie tells you how a bored clerk in Manhattan decides to take up the challenge to cook all 524 recipes of the famous 1961 cookbook Mastering The Art of French Cooking - in 365 days and blog about it. It was the first ever book on French cooking in English and revered as the one which opened up the world of French cuisine to Americans. The story of celebrated food blogger Julie Powell

However the main ingredient of the movie is the story of how a bored wife of an American diplomat in Paris in the 1950s, takes her own passion for food to the next level by graduating from the Cordon Bleu, no less – after becoming enamored with French cuisine. And how she spends eight years of her life co-writing a French cookbook ‘for servantless Americans’. The story of the famous chef Julia Child

Based on Julia’s memoirs “My Life in Paris” and Julie’s book “Julie & Julia” – the movie is an easy watch, especially with the delicious food on display, but also a look at two love stories. Julia and her husband Paul Child and the slightly lesser Julie & her husband Eric. Paul and Julia’s chemistry is a treat to watch – Julia with her effervescence and joy of life and Paul as the quieter and slightly bemused husband. Theirs is a story that deserves a movie by itself maybe

Eric is also the supportive husband when Julie starts her blog – infact he is the one who suggests it. But unlike Julia Child, who is a gem of a person, Julie Powell isnt that likeable. Though the makers have tried to brush up her image trying to make her look adorable and cutesy, she was completely self-absorbed, narcissist - and ‘a bitch’, as her best friend says. It is unfortunately, the ethos of a blogger, who is driven to channel all his thoughts and energies into writing on a blog, leaving out little for anyone else around them. And then hoping to get that all important recognition in the way of comments.

It is also questionable whether she was just using Julia Child’s name to get famous – but that suggestion is never touched upon in the movie.

One of the complaints I have about the movie was its squeaky cleanliness. Apart from one fight between Eric and Julie, it was a little too fairy-talish about the effect of such an all-consuming-passion on their marriage. Similarly, although Paul Child was a really loving man, not once is he shown to be at odds with his wife’s activities – especially since this was before the time of women’s liberation. But then again, his wife did cook some fabulous food ...

The other irritant was Julia Child’s high octave voice and her joie-de-vivre. It seems amusing at the beginning of the movie, but by the end, it’s a little grating. I know it is exactly how the real life Julia Child was – and the makers of the movie are just being faithful to her persona, but it feels a bit overdone.

By the way, Julia Child was all of 6ft 2 in and it’s a marvel how they made a 5 Ft 6 in Meryl Streep appear so tall !!

Its different from your regular cinema – and you don’t have to be a foodie to appreciate it – but its not quite a masterpiece. What works for the movie is Julia & Paul in Paris – they are quite magical together. But the movie slows down a bit towards the end and at feels longer than its 123 min runtime – but it also works up a great appetite for you. So when we got out of the movie – the first thing we did was to make a beeline for a great continental dinner – even though it was only 7.30 pm !!

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