Scandalous Happy Married Sex

julie & juliaMeryl Streep’s performance as legendary TV cook Julia Child in Nora Ephron’s new movie Julie & Julia is sparking lots of comment – and not because of the food, but because of the sex.

Hollywood critics apparently can’t get over the astonishing idea of middle aged married folks enjoying lots of happy sex. Julia and her diplomat husband Paul Child (played by Stanley Tucci) have sex in the afternoon, with a cackling towering (6’2”) Julia ripping off much-shorter Paul’s suspenders.

They photograph themselves naked in a bubble bath and use the picture as a Valentine’s Day card.

Meryl Streep can’t see what the fuss is about unless it’s the simple truth; “I guess people don’t attach sexuality to people who look like their parents.”

Saved By Food

Writer Ephron (68) combined the stories of two lost women who find professional purpose through food. Julia Child is living in 1940s Paris, trying to figure out what to do with her life while her husband serves as a foreign diplomat. She decides to go to cooking school and write a cookbook.

Fast forward to the 21st century, where frustrated secretary Julie Powell hits on a simple gimmick to try and give her life pizzazz: cook every dish from Child’s classic recipe book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blog about it. The blog became famous, then became a book and now Julie Powell is a full time writer.

Supportive Husbands

Each husband in Julie & Julia takes pleasure in supporting his mate’s commitment and ambition. Paul Child snaps pictures of his wife’s cooking for her book. Julie Powell’s husband, Eric (Chris Messina), encourages the blogging idea, even pushing her to keep going after her obsession with it starts to wear on him.

Some critics have described it as a how-to manual on marriage.

Nora Ephron first gained fame as the embittered deserted wife in her book Heartburn, a thinly disguised version of her infamously unhappy marriage to the journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, which ended when she discovered him cheating on her while she was pregnant. Meryl Streep played Nora in the 1986 movie.

Ephron has been happily married to writer Nicholas Pileggi for 22 years (he wrote the books on which Goodfellas and Casino are based – and the screenplays with Martin Scorsese.) and colleagues say the depiction of marriage in Julie & Julia has a lot to do with the success of her third marriage.

The NY Times’ Brook Barnes quotes one of the movie’s producers: “I’m always amazed at how excited each of them is to see the other and how they have managed to remain both interesting and interested. It’s certainly one of the most successful marriages that I’ve ever seen.”

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