This is my first official movie review as the writer and creator of Heidi's Full Plate so I will begin by sharing my criteria for a fabulous movie:
- Do my eyes smart with tears a few times during the movie?
- Do I belly laugh at least a couple times while viewing the film?
- Do I want to be best friends with the main characters or, better yet, do I want to abandon life as I know it and become the main characters?
- Do I want to live where the characters live or at least decorate my house like theirs?
- Do I forget for just a few hours about the laundry and the dentist appointments and the call I need to make to the exterminator and become fully immersed in the story?
- Do I desire to clap and cheer as the credits roll or, even better, do I actually clap and cheer as the credits roll?
- Do I want to be a better 'me' when the film is over?
After viewing Julie & Julia, I say "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" This film met all my criteria and more. I loved every second of it! The theater was packed, the music was enchanting, and for a 2 hours and 3 minutes I was not in Cypress, TX anymore, but was transported to Paris, France and New York City, New York.
Yes, Julie & Julia met all my criteria.
- My eyes welled up with tears when the film subtly conveyed that Julia was unable to have children and when Julie took her anger and frustration with herself out on her husband.
- I chuckled when Julia stuck out her tongue at the cooking instructor and when Julie dropped her half-trussed chicken.
- I had a strong desire to be BFF's with Julie and to 'be' Julia
- I now covet a large peg board in my kitchen on which I will hang all my imagined copper pots and I feel a strong urge to start a collection of vintage state samplers and hang them above my bed.
- During the movie, I didn't once check my watch or consider my 'to do' list.
- As the credits rolled, I began to loudly clap and was glad when that the rest of the theater joined in. The lady next to me said, "Delightful! Just delightful!"
- I no longer see the question "What should I do?" as a depressing and overwhelming necessity but now view it as a challenging and exciting adventure.
Considering that Julie & Julia met all my criteria for a fabulous film, I surprised myself by crying as I drifted back to reality after the movie. I arrived home, my husband asked, "So how was it?", and I began to sob. "Was it that sad?" he said as I continued to cry into his shirt. No, it wasn't that sad at all, it was amazing, entertaining, inspiring, and real, oh so real. I was crying because this movie weaved together the lives of two women (Julia Child and Julie Powell) who were seeking to answer the question, "What should I do?" Julie Child, who was portrayed flawlessly by Meryl Streep, asked this question of her husband when they arrived to live in Paris. Julie Powell , played perfectly by the adorable Amy Adams, also rambles on about this question after a particularly stressful day at her government cubicle job. I can relate! Can't you relate? "What should I do?" or my version "What should I do now that I'm 40 years old, happily married to my best friend, have 4 little people who call me mom, and live in a home with 2.5 baths? What should I do?"
So I cried, and continue to cry, not because I'm sad but because I feel the weight and the freedom of that question. I cry because this movie tells the story of Julie and Julia while they are in the process of asking and answering this question not when they've got it all figured out. Each of these women had an idea of what they wanted to do and they did it. Many scenes portray how they were never perfect, but how they always made progress. They were often discouraged by circumstances but they continued to be true to themselves and their passions. "Never apologize," says Julia Child as she attempts to flip an egg and it splats onto her stove.
Finally I cry because another enjoyable element of the movie is that both of these ladies had men that loved them. Julie and Julia's husbands listened when their wives babbled on for days and years about "What should I do?" The movie shows how the husbands were both encouraging and challenging toward their wives. I love that and I am grateful that I also have that type of support in my life!
Julie & Julia is a movie about two women who love food, who love to cook, and who accomplished amazing things after honestly pursuing answers to the question "What should I do?" It is entertaining to watch and inspiring to ponder. I'm glad that I spent $8.25 to see it in the theater and I hope that when the question "What should I do?" pops in your head in this weekend you will answer, "I should go see Julie & Julia!"