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Performing Art
Arts and Entertainment Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 11 years ago

Film Review: 'Julie and Julia'


When the incomparable Meryl Streep portrays the iconic Julia Child, whose curiosity would not be piqued?

Satiate it by catching writer/director Nora Ephron’s delicious new film, “Julie and Julia.” But be warned: This movie is not to be viewed on an empty stomach.

Based on two stories (Child’s book, “My Life in France,” and Julie Powell’s yearlong blog), Ephron skillfully balances the common bond both women shared — that of accomplishing a dream. For Child, it was graduating from the prestigious Cordon Bleu and writing “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which revolutionized American cuisine. Powell’s goal, although somewhat less lofty, was to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s book in 365 days and daily blog about her experiences. Each is supported by devoted, loving husbands (Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina), adding to the sweetness and light-hearted nature of this scrumptious piece of film making.
Ephron has tackled blogging (“You’ve Got Mail”) and a lust for cooking (“Heartburn”) before, but in “Julie and Julia” she concocts a fantastic feast for the eyes — not only in a culinary sense but also by capturing a totally pitch-perfect performance by Meryl Streep (and I emphasize “pitch”). The voice, the body language, the effervescence of eternal optimism that Child possessed is astounding to hear and watch while Streep embodies her character.
And button-cute Amy Adams holds her own (although the two actresses are never in a scene together) as the loveable renegade foodie, Julie, who absolutely adores Child. Perhaps Streep’s immense talent is infectious, because her co-stars seem to have been at their best when working with her (Streep and Adams were both nominated for Oscars for “Doubt” last year).

Clearly, this is a character-driven delicacy. It’s so refreshing to see an extremely entertaining film that doesn’t have a single explosion, alien or computer generated image in it. Who could resist a movie that extols the virtues of marriage, perseverance and butter? If I had to sum up the “Julie and Julia” experience in one word, it would have to be “yum.”

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