I love Meryl Streep. And so whenever she has a movie out, I go, even if the movie sounds totally ridiculous. Okay, so I missed Mamma Mia. I just couldn’t bring myself to see it. It was too far out of my range. But I did go tonight to see Julie and Julia, which sounded promising. Unfortunately, the movie was trying way too hard to be cute and charming, and I’m not sure there was a complex character in the movie at all; it was very clear that there were good people who always said the most wonderful things and loved each other perfectly, and there were bad people who said nasty things or who gave other people trouble. That sort of thing. At a certain point, I felt the main character was so obsessively cute and nice that I found her in need of psychological counseling. I also felt that the audience was supposed to feel very good about marriage, and that Julia Child is also a sexual being, not just a pop culture icon in relation to culinary subjects. It was kind of…awkward in that aspect. Also, the most drastic conflict that the movie managed to rustle up was a tiff between Julie and her husband, who gets upset because she has become a narcissistic blogger, in need of major amounts of comments on her posts (this in and of itself would have made a much better movie had it been the focus) and affirmation from her upper middle class striving for success friends, which is why she begins blogging in the first place. Yuck. What a source of inspiration and impetus. These are likable characters? Really??? And yet there it is, saying yes! these are unbearably likable characters! You can’t not love them!
But I just didn’t buy it. Sorry. I feel bad for Meryl, who is always trying to spin straw into gold. But the movie itself was a bit thin, a bit too flat, too blandly benign. I didn’t feel anything as I left the theater. Considering Meryl Streep was in this, that feeling is just wrong. Now I need to go watch District 9 or else Ponyo, in order to cleanse my palette.
In other news, the movie did make me mildly interested in perhaps checking out Julia Child’s cookbook, and trying my hand at some French cuisine.