finally got around to watching Julie & Julia last night and while it was definitely enjoyable and delicious to watch, it’s also the kind of movie that glosses over a lot of plot points for the sake of wrapping things up neatly. the film is one part Julia Child’s tale of her life in France and one part blogger Julie Powell’s project of cooking through Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking’s 524 recipes in one year. the story interweaves Child’s forays into cooking and her struggle to get her famous cook book published, and Powell’s yearlong gastronomic undertaking all while juggling a full-time job. both women are faced with monumental endeavors, and the parallel narrative shows us that it’s never too late to do what you love and carve out your place in the world.
Meryl Streep is Julia and she embodies all 6’2” of the famous chef. from the voice to the unconventional mannerisms, Streep becomes Child so much so that when an old SNL clip of Dan Aykroyd doing a sketch as Julia Child comes on (and it’s still laugh out loud hilarious) you think to yourself, “that Aykroyd guy does a fantastic impression of Streep as Julia.” it’s no wonder that once again, Streep finds herself front and center for acting nods during awards season.
Stanley Tucci plays Child’s diplomat husband, Paul, and despite looking like an odd couple, the two are endearingly sweet and perfectly paired. it’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, Streep was the fearsome editrix Miranda Priestly and Tucci her gay subordinate in The Devil Wears Prada.
As Julie Powell, Amy Adams continues to solidify her status as America’s Sweetheart in this role as the modern everywoman, trying to juggle work and domesticity. however, the role itself is quite bland when you consider the other half of the story covers a bon vivant personality like Child’s, but Adams still manages to add a bit of her adorable bright-eyed sparkle. the only thing that was terribly distracting was the short hair wig Adams wears in the film; hopefully, it was killed with fire and never seen again.
writer-director Nora Ephron was the perfect person to make this film. Ephron is a foodie and a big fan of cooking (actually, in many ways, an older Julie Powell), and she’s also known for making charming and clever mainstream films. my only complaint is that while the story brings up some interesting dramatic elements, the script never fully explores them. however, i do credit the film with stirring up ideas of learning to cook. i’m no gourmand and i have no talent in the kitchen, but who knows, one of these days, i just might make something other than scrambled eggs and perhaps attempt Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon (don’t hold your breath though).