From a National Catholic Register review
Five words: Meryl Streep as Julia Child.
Well, okay, five words doesn’t do justice to Nora Ephron’s charming Julie & Julia, a foodie comfort film, a sweet depiction of two loving marriages, a salute to a bygone era and a dispatch from the blogging age.
Julie & Julia is based on two autobiographical accounts: Julia Child’s My Life in France and Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia, recounting Powell’s attempt to blog her experiences cooking her way through all 536 recipes in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year.
Both women pursue cooking and writing out of dissatisfaction with their circumstances. Julie (Amy Adams) is an aspiring writer working for a 9/11 crisis hotline; Julia is stranded in Paris by her husband Paul’s job and looking to give direction to her days and shape to her life. Both have loving husbands who support them in very different ways, which is exactly what they need.
Streep is (surprise, surprise) dazzling as a giddily over-the-top Child, and Tucci is her understated equal as Child’s devoted husband, Paul. No less essential is Adams, winsomely neurotic as Julie, whose cooking blog becomes a sensation, leading to a book deal … and this movie. As Julie’s husband Eric, Chris Messina provides sturdy, good-humored support that Julie can almost take for granted, but not quite.
Julie agonizes adorably over boiling live lobsters and her strained relationship with her sharp-tongued mother; Julia works doggedly to be taken seriously in the male-dominated world of French cooking and negotiates the ups and downs of her collaboration on a cookbook opus.
Toward the end, the two storylines almost converge as Julie’s blog comes to Julia’s attention — and Julia’s reported response leaves Powell in tears. How that twist strikes you make depend in part on which storyline you have felt closer to, on whose movie it is for you. Either way, there’s something for everyone, and if there’s a couple of brief bedroom scenes, for once they involve happily married couples.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.