Page 18 THE VILLADOM TIMES I, II, III & IV • August 19, 2009 ‘Julie & Julia’ features two stories, lots of recipes by Dennis Seuling If you want to know how two stories that took place decades apart can be told at the same time, check out “Julie & Julia,” the new film written and directed by Nora Ephron. One of the women is famous: the author of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and PBS cooking show personality Julia Child (Meryl Streep). The other is an average woman, Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who works in a tiny cubicle fielding phoned-in complaints and insurance inquiries related to the 9/11 attacks. As the movie cuts back and forth between the tales of these women seeking motivation and purpose, viewers get to know them intimately. Child’s story begins in 1949 when her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci), a diplomat, was assigned to Paris. Julia immediately fell in love with the city, especially the rich French food, but what would she do? Paul had his work, but she was adrift and not content to be the dutiful wife. She took a course in hat making and tried to learn bridge, but was bored. She finally decided to learn to cook and took an expensive chef-training course at the prestigious Cordon Bleu Culinary School, quickly outperforming her all-male classmates. Julie, often depressed by the stories she hears at work, feels unfulfilled. A sometimes writer who loves to cook, she started a novel, but never finished it. Her husband, Eric (Chris Messina), tells her about blogs, and she gets the idea of going through Child’s landmark book to prepare every single recipe in a year and blog her progress along the way. Adams has a sweet charm that works well for her here. She comes across as a sparrow with a broken wing, helpless and unable to soar. When her Julie embarks upon her project, a spark is ignited, and she goes at it with passion. Julia Child is her guardian angel of sorts, looking after and encouraging her to make fantastic dishes, some of which are extremely complicated and time-consuming. The wonderful Streep is the centerpiece of “Julie & Julia.” Audiences know she is an amazing actress and has the knack for getting into the skin of her characters, but she tops herself as Julia Child, a role that could have at any time fallen into caricature, but never does. Streep has mastered the chef’s mannerisms and voice: that high-pitched, often breathy combination of enthusiasm and devil-may-care. The real Child was over six feet tall, and the 5’ 6” Streep manages, with the help of camera angles and subtle movie illusion, to add half a foot to her own stature. She has also been padded to approximate Child’s generous figure, and sports a series of curly wigs, duplicating Child’s trademark hairstyle. However, her interpretation is not merely physical. Streep delves deeper than Child’s TV persona. She is a devoted wife, passionate, opinionated, aggressive, and dedicated to getting a book published that makes French cooking accessible to Americans. There is plenty of humor in Streep’s performance, but it emerges from the kind of woman Child was, not from an easy, broad impersonation. Her reactions to food are especially memorable, and the final tasting is a gastronomic explosion of pure joy. It is a studied, intelligent portrayal that does justice to Ephron’s script. The Child sequences are more fun and dazzling than those featuring Julie, who cooks away in her small kitchen above a Queens pizza shop. The viewer can readily identify with Julie, but her story lacks the glamour of Julia’s, and Streep’s exquisite performance overshadows that of Adams. As Julia’s constant husband, Stanley Tucci knows how to get out of the way and let Streep work her magic. He plays Paul as a steady, consistent source of encouragement for his wife, even when her pioneering ideas appear unachievable. Jane Lynch, who has built a career playing characters with a formidable look and a penchant for off-center quips, plays Dorothy McWilliams, Julia Child’s sister, who visits the Childs in Paris. Willowy, gossipy, and bustling with energy, she nicely holds her own in a scene with Julia Child (Meryl Streep) shops in the open-air markets of Paris in ‘Julie & Julia.’ Streep, in which the two women act girlish and silly as they catch up. “Julie & Julia” is great fun. The film’s two stories are related not only by Child’s cookbook, a dominant plot point in both, but by its look at how two women forged their own destinies through determination with the support of loved ones. Rated PG-13, the movie will make viewers hungry for some good food, as director Ephron shows mouthwatering close-ups of many succulent dishes. Long considered one of America’s foremost community theater groups, Bergen County Players (BCP) will open its 2009-10 season with “Curtains,” an entertaining musical comedy. BCP is the first community theater venue to present this Tony Award nominee. The BCP’s 77th season will include audience pleasing musicals, innovative plays, and special events. From toe-tapping musicals to hilarious comedies, intense dramas, and mysteries, BCP has garnered a reputation for outstanding productions at affordable prices. Tickets are Theater group to open new season with ‘Curtains’ $21 for all performances of “Curtains.” Tickets are available online at www. or by phone at (201) 2614200 or at the box office, located at the Little Firehouse Theater, 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell. The box office will open on Aug. 20 for walk up reservations. Discounts are available for groups (201) 262-0515 and students throughout the season. The Little Firehouse Theater now has seating to better accommodate wheelchairs. On the Mainstage, “Curtains” will (continued on Crossword page) #1 German Restaurant in Bergen & Passaic Counties! 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