Sucking the marrow out of an otherwise decent book

Finally, FINALLY was able to watch Julie and Julia. I wasn't able to catch it in the cinemas and the online copies were horrible until I chanced upon this copy online.

I read (and loved) the book a few years back. I found Julie's selfishness to cook each of Julia Child's recipes enamouring and just plain funny. I wish I could say the same for the movie.

The movie in one sentence: Two intertwined stories of women who find meaning in their lives through cooking.

What I liked: All the parts about Julia Child. Face it, her life is fascinating, Paris was fascinating, her life with Paul was fascinating. Julia is larger than life. And how Meryl Streep portrayed her was endearing. After watching this movie, you want to know more about Julia Child and how she revolutionized American cooking, look for her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and yes, read those obviously cheeky memoirs. (Which unfortunately isn't true for Julie Powell, she was ho-hum).

I particularly enjoyed how the men played supportive (not supporting) roles to the women characters and how married life is lovely. How many men do you know would do the grocery shopping for you, eat your messes AND wash the dishes for you? Or get their photo taken in the bathtub with you?

What I didn't like: Most of the parts with Julie Powell. At least how she is portrayed here. She is weak and whiny, unlike the Julie of the book who is feisty, loud mouthed, and just plain bitchy. Even with the scene of Julie ruing that "I'm a bitch..." it didn't ring true. Amy Adams is much too mild and sweet to be the Julie of the book (sorry Amy, I loved you in Enchanted though). Sigh, a sell-out to make Julie nicer just robbed the movie of the very reason why Julie is abrasive yet so likeable. Her personality in the movie was just plain bland. And she seemed a pathetic character in the movie, sorry to say.

I remember when I read the book that I totally could relate to Julie's reasons to embark on her one-year project ... she wanted to find some meaning in her life. The movie turns this otherwise very personal endeavor into a commercial venture. Julie never expected to get a book deal out of her blogging, she never expected to become famous. And I bet that she never expected a movie!

Food-related stuff: What Julie endeavored to do is nothing to be scoffed at. If you have own food blog, you know the excitement of getting a recipe from a cookbook (or online) with the pretty photo for inspiration ... then having to recreate it on your own. If it's a success, it's all the more sweetened if you and your loved ones enjoy it. And if it's a failure, well, it's an edible one (most times). The major mishaps Julie undertook, i.e. the failed aspics and being the "lobster killer," all made the movie.

Verdict: The movie is a quick enjoyable flick. Watch the movie but don't read the book. Or alternately, read the book but don't watch the movie thinking it'll just be as good. Or, if you can, pretend that the book and the movie have totally nothing to do with each other.

Some links to look up:

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall