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- by Laura, August 09, 2009
I didn’t think I’d like it. I really didn’t.
I mean, there was enough hype to near convince me that I wouldn’t. I don’t like hype. Come on: a huge puff piece in the NYT 10 days before the movie was even released?
I’d always admired Julie Powell’s chutzpah and clever idea to blog her way a year of cooking over 500 recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It resulted in a big New York Times story by Amanda H. And then, naturally a book deal. And though I wished Julie well, I had no interest.
But I saw the food movie tonight. And I didn’t like it. I loved it.
Loved it. And though I know my inner skeptic will kick in later, I’m going to write this blog post and indulge my exuberance right now
Meryl Streep infuses Julia with so much joy and inner beauty that I found myself crying during the cooking scenes. The scenes of Julia’s pure sensual joy over food and cooking it, her undaunted devotion--helped me remember why I spent more than 10 years of my life so fascinated with food.
But I am certain it was also the beauty of Julia, shining through Meryl Streep’s performance that got me: the great six-foot two Julia, gamer, adventurer, bon vivant, comic and artist of her own life who didn’t go to cooking school until she was 37 and didn’t publish her first book until she as 49. There’s been so much fake glamour around food the last twenty years. This movie was, most amazingly, actually about cooking. Cooking! Imagine that. Cooking in your tiny kitchen. Cooking because you want to actually learn the hard skills of the craft. Cooking through failure, like when the chicken slides out on the floor and all the stuffing falls out so that you fall down and cry. Cooking to make something so beautiful that people gather around, transformed by the beauty of it for an ephemeral moment.
And then there’s the love and passion of a good man to help make a woman even greater.... Let me say no more. There--now I’ve contributed to the hype and I’m okay with that. And so, like every review of this movie, I’ll close mine by invoking Julia: Bon appetit!