Theater people do go to movies and I was very eager to see Meryl Streep's latest, "Julie and Julia." I was not disappointed. I do, however, disagree with a number of other reviews on one aspect of this film.
Meryl Streep as Julia Child is delightful, delicious, de-lovely -- and any other de-adjective Cole Porter might have chosen. Her scenes with Stanley Tucci, as Paul Child, are film chemistry to the max. This storyline could have carried the entire movie.
However, it does not. Half of the movie takes place 50 years later and features Julie and Eric Powell, as portrayed by Amy Adams and Chris Messina. Julie Powell, working for an government agency dealing with the traumatic post-9/11 survivors and victims' families, is a frustrated writer. Cooking is her outlet and she decides, within a year's time, to make every recipe in Julia's ground-breaking cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Julie starts a blog about it and slowly gains readers and a real obsession.
Most movie critics feel the film soars when focused on Julia (IT DOES!) and drags when focused on Julie. Here I disagree. The juxtaposition of each woman's story is well done and interesting on its own merits. Julia goes to cooking school because she has nothing to do while her husband continues to serve the US government in post WWII France. Julie begins her cooking mission as a creative outlet. The two tiny references to Julia and Paul's inability to have children are poignant and touching. The trouble Julie has completing her self-appointed task is more pronounced. But this is a great example of how the film treats the lives of both women.
The movie is based on Powell's book, "Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen." There are also references from Child's book, "My Life in France." And, of course, the classic, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," which she writes with two other women. (That did not go very smoothly, as you will see!)
What I also found interesting -- and this was information made public long before the movie opened -- was that Julia was aware of Julie's blog -- and did NOT like it! She felt Julie was not serious enough in her devotion to the task and disapproved of her frequent use of profanity.
As for me, I immediately ordered my copy of the cookbook as well as Julia's book. I am taking her autobiography with me as my husband and I travel to Virginia and will tackle the menus when we return. (All Julia's instructions and explanations have already piqued my interest.) After you have seen the movie, you will understand why my first recipe must be Boeuf Bourguignon. Bon Appetit!
West Allis is a pretty large city, but in its early days, it was a tiny community. The city is going back to those roots this weekend as it celebrates the 4th Annual Settlers' Weekend at the West Allis Historical Society, 8405 W. National Ave. West Allis. The festivities run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 29 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, August 30. Admission is free.
Visitors will step back in time as they visit early West Allis -- once called North Greenfield. They can visit a general store, see the blacksmith shop and pioneer room and experience an 1880s class room -- complete with old school bell. Mountain men and trappers from the 19th century will be on hand to tell their tales. The Historical Society building is chockablock with antique tools, dolls and other artifacts from the beginnings of the town. There will also be guided tours of the adjoining Honey Creek Cemetery -- led by one of the town's "early citizens." Honey Creek, founded in 1849, has five Civil War soldiers and is still an active cemetery.
There will also be an ice cream social and other fun activities.
This late summer get-together is sponsored by the West Allis Historical Preservation Commission. Come and see West Allis life in the days gone by!