Film Review: “Julie & Julia”
Julie & Julia, directed and written by Nora Ephron, is a comedic film that came out in 2009. Academy-Award winning actress Meryl Streep stars in the eponymous role as acclaimed American chef and author Julia Child.
The film depicts Child’s life in the early stages of her culinary career, prior to publishing her first major cookbook entitled “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which propelled Child into a global phenomenon. Stanley Tucci reunites with Streep, who worked previously with her in yet another comedy, The Devil Wears Prada, and portrays her husband Paul Child.
Academy-Award nominee Amy Adams (Doubt, 2008) reunites with her acting idol, Meryl Streep, and co-stars in this film as Julie Powell, a government worker who handles phone calls from the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks. Powell’s sole catharsis from this depressing job is cooking for her and her husband when she comes home from work each night.
To make her monotonous life more interesting, Powell undertakes a challenging task. She attempts to cook all of the recipes from Child’s cookbook, a staggering 524 recipes, in a one year time period, in her apartment’s small kitchen. In the meantime, Powell writes daily entries about her culinary and personal experiences on her blog, which was created by her husband, Eric Powell, an archeology magazine editor, played by Chris Messina. This marks the first time that a critically acclaimed film is produced based on a popular blog.
Although these two women never meet, since Julie Powell commences her online blog in 2002, approximately forty years after Child’s cookbook is published, we notice many similarities in their lives. Both women held jobs in the government sector, both had the support of their loving husbands, and both loved to cook, as a method of repose and escape. Furthermore, both women loved using butter in their recipes and both had to overcome adversity in an effort to achieve success.
While living in Paris, France, Child enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu, the famous French cooking school at a time when women were mostly expected to stay at home, since the biggest chefs were men. Child was also treated negatively by the school’s headmistress, Madame Bassart, who was certain that Child would never make it in the culinary industry. On the other hand, Powell was risking her job, marriage and sanity, in an effort to successfully cook all of Julia Child’s cookbook recipes in the one year time period she allotted herself.
In summation, Julie & Julia is recommended for anybody interested in seeing a well-crafted comedic film featuring potent performances from an all-star cast: Streep, Adams, Tucci and Messina. Particularly impressive about Streep’s talent is that she is able to nail Child’s complex accent and mannerisms to the tee. Streep manages to transform herself into Julia Child, and introduce the veteran chef to a brand new generation of viewers. Streep definitely deserved yet another Best Actress Oscar nomination for the controlled performance she delivered in this film as culinary queen Julia Child.