When I saw Departures, I spent about the first half an hour thinking about how delightful the film was. Unfortunately, this rapture of mine was blown to bits by a terribly trite montage and I had to suffer through all of the contrivances that followed.
Like Departures, I was actually enjoying Julie and Julia through its opening 30 minutes. It was irresistable. I let myself get swept away in its delight. I kept waiting to be disappointed. The difference this time was that I wasn't. Julie and Julia, despite (because of) its conventional Ephron script kept me delightfully engaged from start to finish. I say that it's conventional because it is; all the typical RomCom stuff is there. It just seems more mature than any of its countless siblings and every note of this familiar formula is played just right.
There are moments toward the 3/4 mark where the film drags because the obstacles set up for these women are sure to be overcome, but even these are tolerable because by the 3/4 mark, I was already invested in everything coming out alright. I knew it would and I was eager to see it happen.
Don't dismiss Julie and Julia. It's one of Hollywood's best offerings this year; easily worth a rental when it gets its DVD release. I'm looking forward to seeing it again with Abigail.