Julie & Julia: Movie Review
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Julie & Julia has all of the ingredients of a memorable film: five-parts exceptional cast and dashes of comedy and delicious moments mixed in with a touching story.
Filmmaker extraordinaire Nora Ephron, who was intricately responsible for such classics as Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and When Harry Met Sally, brings the paralleled stories of America's most beloved chef Julia Child and her die-hard fan Julie Powell to life.
The Movie in a Minute
Based on two true stories, Julie & Julia exposes the frustration and triumphs of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) as New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) attempts to make all 524 recipes from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. Transitioning between Julia's kitchen explorations in post-War France and Julie's modern-day life in Queens, Julie & Julia connects the two stories as both women fully discover their passion for cooking and find fulfillment in sharing their love with America via a best-selling cookbook and a popular blog.
Julie & Julia's Best Ingredients
Moviegoers will find it difficult to keep from salivating at the sight of Julia Child's famous recipes: flavorful beef bourguignon, buttery lobster thermidor, moist chocolate cake, sweet apple tart, and fluffy soufflé. It's a feast for the eyes, and by the end of the movie, everyone will either rush out to sign up for a cooking class or find some place good to eat.
Cast. From the moment, Julia Child appears on screen audiences are reminded of the talent of actress Meryl Streep. Taking on one's appearance, mannerisms, and accent is a difficult task for any actor. Yet, Meryl's portrayal of Julia Child is perfect. Kudos to Meryl for an unforgettable performance. Her stand-out co-star? Stanley Tucci, who plays Julia's devoted husband Paul. Often overlooked as supporting cast, Tucci's outstanding work completes this movie. The banter and chemistry between the two newlyweds is absolutely adorable.
Amy Adams does well as the determined blogger bent on conquering Child’s intimidating recipes. Supporting actors Chris Messina (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) and Jane Lynch (Glee) also garnish the film making it the perfectly flavored dramedy.
Comedy. Watching Julia explore French food, is like watching a giddy schoolgirl in a candy shop. This lady has no inhibitions and cares not what others may think of her. She’s truly in love with food, and she soon discovers Paris is the mecca of fine cuisine. The kitchen scenes are appropriately reminiscent of Julia Child’s crazy kitchen techniques as featured on her show, The French Chef. The comedic timing is seamless throughout the film thanks to a well-written script by director Nora Ephron.
Story-line. Adapted from Julie Powell’s book Julia & Julia and Julia Child’s memoir My Life in France, Ephron crafted these two true stories into a succinct script. The transitions between Julie and Julia’s lives, forty years apart, were smooth. Their similar storylines are mixed well. Both Julie and Julia are newlyweds, unhappy with their lives after a move, and desperately need a hobby. They both find that they love cooking and decide to write about it. Getting to know the behind-the-scenes “French Chef” is a plus. Moviegoers may be surprised to find her a lively personality, who was infatuated with fine cuisine and the man who introduced her to it – Paul, but also a woman who lived with a heartbreaking secret.
Where Julie & Julia Falters
One complaint. The story gets a little bogged down in the middle. Ephron’s only gaffe in the film is dwelling on the publishing of Child’s cookbook too much. Yes, it was one of the chef’s biggest triumphs and it is what introduced her to American housewives. However, this part of Child’s story was belabored. By trimming the publishing house scenes and her talks with her French cooking partners, the movie would have breathed better, offering moviegoers an even more pleasant experience.
The film is rated PG-13 for two reasons: brief strong language and some sensuality. These few instances are a bit of a shock because they feel out of character--based on the Julia Child we’ve seen on television. The sensuality refers to a few scenes that allude to sexual encounters between husband and wife. One scene shows Julie half-naked being carried to bed by her husband. These scenes are tastefully shot making this film appropriate for teenagers and adults.
The Final Judgment
Prepare to laugh hysterically and drool profusely as you watch Julie & Julia. C’est magnifique!
Movie Theater Tip: Avoid sitting in the back of the theater. You will want to be as close to the giant-sized food as possible.
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