Julie & Julia
Rated PG-13; Directed by Nora Ephron; Starring Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Jane Lynch
In 2002, government-worker Julie Powell started a project: cook the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and complete it within a year’s time. Her blog, the “Julie/Julia Project” proved a success, the blog became a bestselling book, and then the book turned into Julie & Julia, a fun movie that shows us two women discovering what makes them happy. Starring Amy Adams as Julie Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child, and with an entertaining script, the movie also deserves success.
Director Nora Ephron’s screenplay follows the two major characters as they begin their adventures in food. Julie works at low-level job in a governmental agency. Feeling that her life means nothing, she begins a blog project. With a supportive husband (Chris Messina), she’s going to cook up a storm, find a way to work full time and fix some complicated dishes on a regular basis. Obviously, such an ambitious project will not go smoothly. More than 50 years earlier, the newlywed wife of a diplomatic worker must find a way to entertain herself while her husband is at work. Julia Child (Meryl Streep) does enjoy eating, so why not learn to cook? She does, which soon leads to her collaborating on a cookbook for American women.
The two stars make this film work. Streep can do no wrong as she brings us the exuberant Julia, a woman who lets nothing interfere with enjoying what life has to offer. Amy Adams has the more difficult role as a woman who lets many things interfere with that joy, but Adams still makes Julie an interesting character. Stanley Tucci as Julia Child’s husband and Chris Messina as Julie’s, both bring warmth to their supporting roles.
Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail) used Julia Child’s memoir “My Life in France” to bring us the more interesting story: how did Julia Child become the woman many of us know — the famous cookbook-writer and TV chef? Ephron streamlined Powell’s often hilarious story of her cooking endeavors into voiceovers and shots of Amy Adams typing away at the laptop. With these two different women, Ephron succeeds in giving their stories a parallel structure.
Julie & Julia is a film that offers plenty of laughs, a few tears, and plenty of food. Two wonderful actresses playing one good character and one larger-than-life character, a lighthearted script, competent direction, and you have the ingredients for one tasty dish.