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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Dinner and a Movie

    Nora Ephron, the director who brought us ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘You’ve Got Mail,’ delivers what may prove to be her most carefully crafted film yet in ‘Julie & Julia.’

    ‘Julie & Julia,’ based, as the tag line says, on two true stories, is a film about Julia Child and a modern-day young woman who worships Child as her idol.

    Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a young, married woman who lives in an unpretentious neighborhood in Queens, and works a harrowing day-job answering phone calls from relatives of 9/11victims.

    Her ‘friends’ are high-powered executives with designer clothes and perpetual diets of cobb salads. It is unclear why Julie is friends with these women at all.

    When one of her friends becomes well-known through her online blog, Julie decides to write a blog of her own, in which she documents her newly-invented project of cooking her way through the 500+ recipes in Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ in one year.

    Spliced between Julie’s own story of finding a project she loves and plunging each day into something new, is the story of Julia Child in 1950’s France.

    Julia Child (Meryl Streep) is bored and searching for a hobby in Paris, where her husband (Stanley Tucci) works as a diplomat for the U.S. government. After trying out various hobbies, including haberdashery, Child enrolls in a cooking course at the Cordon Bleu Academy.

    Just like Julie, the movie implies, Child also had to search for a passion to fulfill her life, and she found it, like Julie, in cooking.

    Bouncing between contemporary Queens and 1950’s Paris, the film shows how the two women, moving in parallel worlds and with parallel ‘- if not distinct ‘- goals, deal with both setbacks and successes.

    For Child, it is in the writing and publishing of her cookbook, one that will teach American women how to cook French food.

    For Julie, it is about becoming a writer in her own right, as well balancing relationships. The film shows how quickly Julie’s marriage suffers when she becomes obsessed with her blog and her ‘fans.’

    Ephron manages to combine a lovingly nostalgic look at the life and figure of Julia Child, whose oddly-accented yodel of a voice haunts many of our own memories of watching her show on PBS as children, with a wry yet heartfelt story of a young woman struggling for success and self-actualization.

    On top of that, the film is full of food. You will leave this film wondering what boeuf bourguignon tastes like and asking yourself whether you’d be up to de-boning a duck. It’s a wonder you can’t smell the food that this film is filled with!

    Whether you see it for the food or for the story, you will leave satisfied. The film never gets campy or silly, and is definitely worth watching’hellip;and re-watching. Out in general release now, it will also play at the Staller Center on campus on Dec. 4.

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