Synopsis: A frustrated temp secretary decides to write a blog about her experience over one year preparing all 524 recipes in a Julia Child’s Cookbook. It also shows the period where Julia Child discovered her love for cooking and published her first book.
Release Date: August 7, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Combine one part France 1949 with one part Queens, New York 2002 and one gets a not great, but decent meal of a movie. The film does not succeed in achieving its full potential because the two parts never add up to become one uniformed piece. The viewer is pleasantly transported to Paris during the Julia Child segments; but during the transitions back to Julie Powell’s contemporary New York, one feels as if he/she is being dragged along unwillingly. This is not to say the movie hasn’t accomplished anything. On the contrary, the experience of witnessing two women in their journey for success is a delightful one. In the end the fun of making food wins out. The sincerity of gratification seen in both Julie’s and Julia’s faces when they’ve finally reached their goals is just enough desert to make up for the lack of entree.
“Too many montages!” is what I wanted to scream out near the end of the film. At least one cooking montage is to be expected in a film about cookbooks, but enough is enough when the reconciling of a broken relationship is delivered via “tada!”, another montage. And it’s not as if the conflict between Julie Powell and her husband is ever fully developed anyway. This lack of Drama is most likely due to the fact that the men in the story are not fully developed characters, but merely very supportive husbands who kiss their wives often. One understands that this is not a relationship story since at one point Powell declares, “Whoâs talking about men?!”. But the parallels between Julie & Julia aren’t enough to satisfy either. Throw into all of this a failed critique on McCarthyism and the War on Terror, and one discovers the primary reason holding this movie back lies in the blueprints themselves.
As the iconic cook Julia Child, Meryl Streep does it again. From the very beginning of the movie the audience hears Streep imitating Child’s signature intonations and by the time we physically see her we’re already sold. Although impressive, it’s not the mimicking of vocal chords or even the transformation into a 6’2” woman that wins us over however. It’s the fact that Streep entertains every second she’s on the screen. Her comedic timing is flawless and every reaction is heart felt. Whether it be a huge event such as the publishing of her book or the simple act of eating a pear, Meryl Streep renders each moment into something interesting and enjoyable. A painter paints, Julia Child cooks, and Meryl Streep acts; it’s as simple as that.
The movie is half set in 1950s Paris and with that comes some wonderfully authentic costumes. Authenticity is one thing, but actually complimenting the film is another. The over-sizing of Streep’s attire not only aids in the illusion of her transformation, but big, baggy skirts and jackets are funny as well. The giant clothes combined with light blues and unique stripes helps facilitate the film’s overall tone of lighthearted fun.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Nora EphronEric Steel
- Producer(s): Nora EphronMeryl Streep (Julia Child)
- Screenwriter(s): Amy Adams (Julie Powell)Stanley Tucci (Paul Child)Chris Messina (Eric Powell)
- Cast: Richard MarksStephen GoldblattMark Ricker
- Editor(s): Ann Roth
- Cinematographer: Alexandre Desplat
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s): Brainstorm Digital
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA