I had the pleasure of getting away on my birthday last week to see “Julie and Julia” with a friend, followed by dinner. I have to tell you, dear readers, if you haven’t seen it, run—don’t walk—to the theatre to see this delightful film. From the moment the credits came on until the lights went up at the end, I was smiling from ear to ear. It’s that good and it’s that uplifting.
I find as I get older—and have been through some stuff (that which we shall not name and all)—that I can’t take movies that have any kind of violence, but particularly violence against women, children, and animals; a focus on the end of the world and complete destruction; or anything in which a character develops, deals with, or god forbid, dies of, cancer. Any kind. If that makes me a wimp, well, so be it. (I still can’t look at the Statue of Liberty up close. Why? The last scene of “Planet of the Apes” where Charlton Heston escapes from the apes, runs down to the ocean, and finds the Statue of Liberty sticking out of the sand. He’s been in his own country all along, a country that’s been overtaken by apes. The visual has stuck with me all these years and is something of a joke in my family. But it’s not a joke to me. The memory of the final scene in that movie—seen when I was a young child—makes me sick to my stomach to this day. Heck, I’m getting a little queasy just writing about it!) So, with all of those requirements, it’s been well over a year since I’ve stepped foot in a movie theatre. When I saw the advertisements for “Julie and Julia” on television, I told my husband that I wasn’t going to miss it.
One of the most refreshing things about the movie is its positive depiction of marriage, particularly the marriage of Julia and Paul Child. These were two people who cared about each other, supported each other, loved each other, and had a very voracious and healthy sex life. What could be better? They had their hardships—many moves between Europe and the United States, infertility, Paul’s job insecurity and subsequent questioning by members of HUAC—but they seemed to get through everything with laughter, a good meal, and each other’s support. I know: it’s just a movie. I’m sure that they hit their bumps in the marital road. But isn’t this just a bit more refreshing than watching couples deal with infidelity and any one of a host of other problems in the movies that seem to come out weekly?
The “Julie” portions of the story weren’t quite as uplifting, but charming nonetheless. Her marriage was on shakier ground than “Julia’s” due to her obsession with her blog and cooking her way through Julia’s cookbook, but things resolved nicely and left me with a positive feeling about her and her husband as well.
One piece of oft-recited advice: Do not go to the movie hungry. The cooking scenes are numerous, realistic, and intense. I have never wanted to eat boeuf bourguignon so badly in my life but that’s a tough dish to find in a sleepy suburban village in New York in the middle of August. So we settled for dinner at an Italian restaurant and the chicken special to take the edge of the hunger exacerbated by the movie.
This is one not to miss.
What movies would you recommend, now that you know my requirements for a good feature film? And please, make sure the Statue of Liberty doesn’t take up residence on a sandy beach far, far into the future. That’s rule number one for my viewing pleasure.