The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
Did you ever want to take a three-day bus trip sitting next to Julia Child? Just asking. In 30-minute programs on TV, she was priceless. But to live with her, I suspect, must have taken the patience of a saint. Her husband Paul in “Julie & Julia” is portrayed as a saint, so that explains her marriage.
Now about Julie Powell. That’s the woman who wrote an online journal documenting her vow to cook all the way through Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 524 recipes in 365 days. She is also married to a patient man, although he retains enough self-respect to walk out for a few days half-way through her project. Together, they make just about enough money to live above a pizza parlor in Queens. How do they pay for all those groceries?
The performances go a long way toward selling the characters; Meryl Streep creates an uncanny version of Julia Child, of course with a spot-on accent. She seems to have grown several inches to play the great 6’2” chef. Stanley Tucci, playing her diplomat husband, stands 5’8” in real life. The movie somewhat diminishes this difference, but at no point, however, does he seem capable of denying anything to his beloved goddess.
Amy Adams could make anyone lovable, but with Julie Powell, it’s sometimes a stretch. Julie is so single-minded about her obsession that it comes to dominate her married life. Having cooked a few of Julia Child’s recipes myself, I doubt there are many you can start on after getting home, some nights, as late as 8 or 9. The dinner bell seems to have rung at the Powell household after midnight, although the wait was mellowed by a remarkable number of martinis.