You can never have too much butter

Meryl Streep is the film industry’s equivalent of Madonna.

I never quite understood the fascination with Meryl Streep until recently.  The first time I came to know about her was back in the 90’s. I was a child then and I vaguely remember Manoling Morato and MTRCB fussing over Bridges of Madison County. I never really paid attention to that though. That was clearly for adults and it’s something that my mom wouldn’t so openly discuss had I attempted to ask. So instead, I was busy channeling my inner Pink Ranger and Sailor Moon, morphing to save the world from alien monsters.

From the time I became aware of her, Ms. Streep never was the epitome of cool for me. Yeah, they say she’s THE Greatest actress. She’s won so many Oscars, this and that awards, but I couldn’t care less. Only old people could relate to her.

Quick Translation: she and her films were boring.

That was until she played the devil incarnate who wears prada. It was then that I started to take notice of her work and acknowledged to myself, “Oh yeah, she can be cool. She is a good actress. It’s actually fun to watch her.” Saw her next in Mamma Mia and she had me again convinced that her films are not a drag and that her acting chops were superb. I  started to understand the respect Hollywood dotes on her.

But it was in Julie and Julia that I became a believer.

Her portrayal of the insanely high-pitched and extremely tall chef extraordinaire Julia Child merits all superlatives. What I consider as great acting is when all traces of the actor – the celebrity or the person she is, and the characters she played in the past, disappear on screen. It is doubly hard I guess if the character is based on a real person, ‘coz there certainly is a fine line that distinguishes portrayal from an impersonation. Streep was as natural as the ingredients Child would use in her recipes. I honestly think there’s no one else in Hollywood who could play this role besides her.

Suffice to say, Julie and Julia is hands down a Meryl Streep film. She owned it. But while Streep is the brightest spot in this movie, the others were also stellar. Amy Adams, who shares the other title role with Streep as Julie Powell, gave a subtle but very convincing performance. She portrays a failed writer who rose to blogger stardom after cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook and writing about it on line. Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina play the husbands, perfectly complementing the two leading ladies. I would also have to commend on how tasty the food looked like, and how the people in the movie eat with such orgasmic quality. Food, indeed, is like a major character itself in this film – one with no dialogue but very eloquent.

Kudos to Norah Ephron, the film’s screenplay writer and director, for making the full two hours of the movie (yes, it is that long) effortlessly charming. This is not your ordinary chick flick, and I’m not even sure that I  should categorize this  movie as such. But surely, it was a very delightful experience.

So going back to Meryl Streep being the film industry’s equivalent of Madonna, I wonder what role she’s gonna do next. Whatever it is though, I’m sure viewers will end up pleasantly surprised. She has certainly made herself known to a younger set of audience, a proof of her enduring star power most actors can only dream of.

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