August 17th, 2009

Bon Appetit!

We went to the Seven Gables to see Julie and Julia last night. It goes without saying that it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie; you could hear the audience chuckles and laughter from start to finish. It stands, though, as another example of the inimitable Streep, for her amazing Julia Child.

I think that if you had never known Child, you might have found Streep to be just weird, over-the-top and silly. Knowing Child, though, the viewer has to be stunned at the power of a great actor. In reality, Streep looks and sounds nothing like Julia Child. Heck, Streep is 5' 6" to Child's 6' 2'. It takes about two minutes for Streep totally to own the role. She acts herself into being a big, tall, bulky woman. Her voice is so right on that it seems as though Julia is being channeled. In most biopics, the viewers have to grant quite a bit of leeway to the actor playing Lincoln or FDR or Nixon. In this one, Streep OWNS our own memories of Julia Child. I can't quite explain it. We who grew up with Child on TV all have our own specific memories and knowledge of the woman as she aged. We should be able to say, "These are ways Meryl does not fit Julia." But Streep is so wonderful that we allow her to inhabit our own memories; she becomes Julia Child.

On top of it, the woman she is playing is an absolute delight. Can you remember watching such an insistently upbeat and cheerful person being played convincingly? No, you cannot. Can you remember such a fine portrayal of a middle aged married couple? Nope. Stanley Tucci is perfect as Paul Child. The feeling in and for this movie, just sweep you away.

I won't even bother with the food stuff. It is definitely dangerous to anyone who has an interest in that direction.

Go see it. You will love it.