*Note* Technically this is 2 books in 1 movie, but the movie is named after the book by Julie Powell so I focus on that mostly in my comparison. For the record, I have read both of the books that the movie is based on.
I haven’t been to the theater to see a movie in over a year. . . maybe two. Pregnancy tends to make me avoid having to sit in the same spot for two hours and now that I’m not pregnant I’m just too busy with a needy little baby. Anyway, I wanted to see this one in the theater but I just had a feeling I was going to be disappointed. I did rush right out and rent it today though, I couldn’t wait for it to come via Netflix!
I couldn’t imagine how they would make this movie from the book. Anyone who has read the book must know what I mean, right?
First of all, the movie is charming. My favorite scene includes Julia Child in front of the big pile of onions that she is practicing chopping after her first day at Le Cordon Bleu. Of course everyone agrees Meryl Streep is amazing in the role of Julia Child. Those of us that watched her on PBS several years ago know she was a unique person, not easy to emulate, that’s for sure. I can’t imagine anyone else being able to pull off this role.
Mostly I enjoyed the parts of the movie featuring Julia Child and her husband Paul living in France. It was great to bring to life some of Julia Child’s writings of this time that I had read in her memoir, another great book, My Life in France. (The movie is based on this book as well, a great compliment to the book written by Julie Powell.) The relationship Julia had with her husband Paul is the kind of relationship everyone should have with their significant other- supportive, loving, entertaining. The relationship they share is similar to the mood of the movie. The book. . . not so much.
Here is a link to the book:
Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
The book really is a disturbing little book and I loved it! I reserved it at our local library and the version I got was the large print version. All I could think of while reading the opening scene in the book was little old ladies reading it and falling over of a heart attack. She opens the book by describing an encounter with a mentally ill homeless woman while waiting for a train in the NYC subway system. The woman is repeating expletives- the kind my mom doesn’t like to read in books or hear in movies. The rest of the book is filled with them! Those and other “offensive” phrases and graphic descriptions of sexual encounters, strange phrases and general naughtiness that was interesting and made for an entertaining read. There were some things I felt went a little over the top- some things I felt were a little strong even for my high tolerance of all things vulgar.
I loved the book. It was edgy but was written about something traditional- French cooking, which makes it extremely appealing to me. The whole time I was reading the book I kept thinking, how are they going to make this into a movie??!! I knew that they would just take out all the substance of who Julie Powell is and turn it into a light-hearted comedy. Which they did. Amy Adams does a good job in the movie. She’s cute, but I’m not sure this is what the real Julie Powell is like. Her book makes her seem so much more. . . interesting. How I imagine her to be from reading her book makes me want to be her best friend and hate her at the same time. Not necessarily a bad thing- it means she is interesting at least. The way she is portrayed in the movie makes me want to smile and say, that’s nice. But it’s not interesting.
I know, I know, movies are made to sell tickets. They have to appeal to the masses. I guess this is why I don’t like many movies. I’m not the masses. . . I like strange, weird books and Julie Powell’s book is one of them! I made sure to tell my mom that she could never read the book. It really would be offensive to her. It’s not for old ladies. She did however love the movie. So did my grandma. Both would have had an aneurism had they read the book.
So in conclusion, I guess it depends on what kind of person you are. But my guess is that the movie is an “all ages” flick to please most females and some males and the book is probably for those under the age of 40, unless you are not easily offended. Ah, and you should probably have at least some interest in mastering the art of French cooking!