I’m writing this literally two minutes after I finished watching the movie, so these are my initial impressions!
The story, for those of you who don’t know, is based on two true stories. The first is the work of Julia Childs, who wrote a famous cookbook teaching Americans how to cook French food. The second book (of the same title as the movie), is about a government office clerk who decided to work her way through Julia Childs cookbook and blog about it, cooking over 500 recipes in 1 year.
I guess you have to take the fact that it is a true story into account when reviewing it. While I didn’t like the ending of the movie, if that is how things actually worked out then that is how they worked out and I am glad they did not change it. I don’t know, there is an element in the plot that just felt kind of dumped there (the discovery that Julia Childs did not like Julie’s blog at all). But like I said, if that is how it happened then that is how it should be written in the script.
True stories are really hard to review for plot content, so I’m just going to skip that category entirely. I don’t personally think this was an interesting enough story to make into a movie. The viewer doesn’t really take anything from it. I think the book should have stayed a book, it has more power that way, but now that it’s a movie that is what everyone will expect when they crack the spine.
This looses a star because, after nearly two hours, Meryl Streep’s voice really grates on the brain. Maybe that was how Julia Childs really talked, but it is not pleasant to listen to. Actually, I think Streep tends to act the exact same character time and time again, with very VERY little variation. She isn’t as bad as Jennifer Anniston, but it isn’t great. I would like to see her take on a greater variety of character types and really show off the acting skills she is famous for. Amy Adams did an amazing job in her portrayal as Julie, and I’m glad she can separate herself so completely from the image of the ditzy Disney princess-type. I think she will continue to make a name for herself as a brilliant actress and will easily gain greater popularity with Streep since she does not limit herself to a single type of role.
Between the dimmer lighting of Julie’s kitchen and the brightness of Julia’s France, this movie didn’t balance the costumes well at all. All the French costumes were shapeless and darker, with the modern clothing being just as shapeless and a little over colored. I think swapping the shades between the two sets of costume types would have made the visuals flow better, but oh well.
I’m giving this it’s own category because I was impressed by a detail. Overall the story is nothing special. The viewer is never really given a reason why we should care if Julie cooks Julia’s cookbook, and that is where it lost points. I did, however, LOVE the screenwriter’s smooth transitions between 1950s France and modern day New York. The two timelines seemed to fit nicely together, and that can’t have been easy to do.
Overall I don’t highly recommend this movie, nor do I knock it down entirely. I think some people may love it, but I wasn’t one of them. It felt like a 3 hour movie to me, much too long for its content. There wasn’t much variety in shots and I honestly wasn’t drawn in by the characters very much. Now that it’s over I don’t think I will ever watch the movie again in my life. If you disagree, go ahead, feel free, that’s just my own opinion.