Director Nora Ephron serves up her new film Julie and Julia in two delicious courses divided about equally between the saga of food blogger Julie Powell (a satisfying dinner) and the story of food lover extraordinaire Julia Child (a delectable dessert).
The movie is a feast for the senses from the beginning scenes of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her adoring husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) as they arrive in 1949 Paris. We swing back and forth between the real-life struggles of Julia to find her foodie niche in the 50’s and Julie Powell’s (Amy Adams) determined efforts decades later to make every one of the 500+ recipes from Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ in 365 days—and live to blog about it.
I followed the advice to see the movie on a full stomach, and was glad I did, as the food is lovingly photographed. Makes you want to start slicing up an onion or melting some butter. But the tastiest treat of all is watching Streep have as much fun playing Julia as Julia herself seemed to have being Julia. While Julia Child didn’t write the Joy of Cooking, she clearly had the joy of living, through all the ups and downs and obstacles placed in her way. Streep captures that spirit perfectly, virtually transforming herself into the towering, charismatic Child. Another Oscar nom seems likely.
Amy Adams gives a fine performance as Julie, soldiering on like Julia, albeit with a smaller portion of joie de vivre than the irrepressible Julia Child. Adams is just so darned cute even when whining.
You never get too big a helping of either personality, as Ephron cuts from one story to the other and keeps things moving nicely. Funny, touching, with just an occasional pinch of sadness.
Whether you consider yourself a foodie, a movie fan or both, I suspect you’ll find a viewing of Julie and Julia to be the recipe for a lovely couple of hours.