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Meryl & Meryl

 
 

Fun & Fearlessness!

   

 

  

 

Julia Child was, of course, a late-blooming original -- a fearless 6'2" American in Paris who took on the Cordon Bleu and male chefs, publishing Mastering the Art of French Cooking when she was almost 50, and later going on to the famous television career.

 

Meryl Streep at 60 is setting new highs -- with box office draw that is unprecedented in Hollywood history for a woman of a certain age (Forbes has her high on the list of top female moneymakers) and she takes Julie & Julia and makes it hers, and perhaps what she possesses in spades is not only the same fearlessness -- but a mischievous joy in her work!  We wrote earlier about the marvelous time she seemed to be having in Doubt(2008) and that is exactly what she seems to be doing here -- taking a certain wicked glee in her role that is simply irresistible!  She has apparently garnered a second generation of young fans who are quite enamored with her after The Devil Wears Prada(2006) and Mamma Mia!(2008) which together made more than a billion dollars -- the young things are coming to see Meryl, not Amy!   

 

The French Lieutenant's Woman(1981), Sophie's Choice(1982), and Out of Africa(1985) were the earlier incarnation…and now, the older commanding woman who emerged a few years ago with movies like The Hours (2002).  Streep says her drama school days were a time of "...hyperbolic drama that was out-sized and Brechtian, with an expressionistic kind of acting, just like performance art now.  It didn't matter that it didn't bear any resemblance to real behavior.…I wasn't grounded in the Method (school of acting), which is based in realism: How much does the role resemble me?  So it wasn't a big deal for me to think that I could play an old lady or somebody from another country. It wasn't a dirty trick to assume another identity."  Her method is to begin with a voice; recall the marvelous exaggerations of the Polish immigrant in Sophie's Choice, or the Danish writer Isak Dinesen in Out of Africa.  She's larger than life, overdoes it, takes over the role and the movie… As Child, she's got the clunkiness of walk, the impression of height and awkwardness, the thrilling at food, the trilling of voice.... 

 

Julie & Julia, if you haven't seen it yet, is about Paris, food, Julia Child, and Julie Powell who blogs about cooking the recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking over the course of a year.

 

We went to see the movie to watch Streep -- a big part of the draw is to see her at the height of her career, having the time of her life!  

 

Read: My Life in France, Julia Child & Alex Prud'homme

 

Cook: Mastering the Art of French Cooking 

 

Tags: paris


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