I just saw Julie & Julia. Meh. Nothing special. I watched it because apparently Julia Child developed her passion for French food when she was in Rouen, the town where yours truly has resided for 3 years and counting. Although the Rouen shown in the movie has absolutely nothing to do with the real one. They must have shot it in another quaint French town nearer to Paris since all French towns look similar anyway.
I think the story would have been more interesting if they had focused more on Julia Child rather than weaving two different stories of Julia Child and Julie Powell together. I find Julie Powell annoying and whiny, and doesn't really contribute to the story.
I've seen several Nora Ephron films like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. Frankly, Amy Adams is just a younger version of Meg Ryan, Ephron's muse. Neurotic, clumsy and cute as a button. If this film was made 20 years ago, I'm pretty sure Meg Ryan would have been cast as Powell, no doubt about that. It reminds me of the series Samantha Who where Christina Applegate plays her character almost exactly the way Jennifer Anistion plays Rachel in Friends. It's like these directors have run out of ideas so they are telling actors, "Do you remember _____ in the movies/series _____ ? Do it exactly like that and get it over with."
And God knows I love Meryl Streep, but something's a bit off in this movie. She seems like she's trying too hard to be chirpy, and what's up with the shrill voice? Sometimes the way Streep acts in this movie made me think of Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, very jumpy, very bubbly and extremely fake. But that's justified by the fact that the woman was batshit crazy, and Vivien Leigh pulled it off marvelously. Julia Child, on the other hand, was not crazy. So why play her like that? I think this is what Katharine Hepburn meant when she said she didn't like Meryl Streep because she could almost hear 'click, click, click' in Streep's head. It's like she's too mechanic when playing a part.
I liked the use of Charles Aznavour's Mes Emmerdes in the soundtrack though. Very French. And when I say that, I mean classy but vulgar. If only people knew how vulgar the French actually are. It's just that the French language is so beautiful that people seem to overlook the vulgarity of the people.
All in all, I think Julie & Julia is only okay. The only thing I had in mind after watching the movie was how the hell can I make boeuf bourguignon without using red wine?
p/s: Julia Child went to a bookstore called Shakespeare & Co., one of the very, very few English bookstores in Paris. I went there a couple of times and found it a tad expensive although, given the fact that good English reading materials (especially older ones) are hard to come by in France, the pricing is still reasonable. Luckily I've found 2 other cheaper - albeit a lot smaller - English bookstores in Paris so I don't have to go to Shakespeare anymore. Having said that, Shakespeare is still the best English bookstore in Paris in terms of size and number of books (used & new) available.