Julie & Julia (2009)
Julie & Julia (2009)

Genre: Dramatic Comedy Running Time: 2 hr. 3 min.

Release Date: August 7th, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Nora Ephron Actors: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Jane Lynch

 


 

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ust as you can never have too much butter, you can also never have too much Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. They are once again delightful to watch, playing characters that are superbly favorable and enhanced with humorous screenwriting. The drama, comedy, and cooking is all skillfully balanced, although with a two-hour runtime, the pacing isn’t the most perceptive. It’s an entertaining, enjoyable film, brilliantly combining two separate stories to demonstrate the influence and similarities between them. While the event is never unappealing, it’s also not exceedingly revolutionary.

“Julie & Julia” is based on two best-selling memoirs, one from famous cook Julia Child concerning her life in France, and the other by Julie Powell, a woman who’s life was greatly affected by Child’s cookbook. The film carefully weaves the two together, alternating between Child’s (Meryl Streep) struggles in Europe during the ’50s and Powell’s (Amy Adams) conflicts in New York in the early 2000s. Both are fueled by the healing power of cooking, a passion for food, and the perfect kind of butter.

In 1949 France, Julia Child settles in with her diplomat husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) to a new environment, striving to sort out what she wants to do with her time. After determining that she has an uncanny love of food (shopping for groceries is as much fun to her as other women find buying a new dress), she takes up schooling with professionals, eventually teaches a few students, and works on collaborating on her own enormous cookbook. When she can’t find any French cookbooks written for Americans, she knows she’s found her calling.

On the other side of the globe and in the year 2002, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is adapting to a new apartment in Queens with her writer husband Eric (Chris Messina) and her depressing job as a government agency secretary. Her spare time is devoted to food as well – both women find relief in the preparation of food almost more than eating it. When her day job starts to wear away at her soul, she decides to write an internet blog that explains a unique goal she sets for herself: to prepare every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook – 524 recipes in 365 days. Initially, she must deal with a lack of readership (simply throwing words out into a void, which is what blogging nowadays has become), the negativity of her mother, the strain on the relationship with her husband, a lobster killing ordeal, and the formidable task of boning a duck.

“Julie & Julia” proves to be a movie not to watch on an empty stomach, as plenty of detail goes into the tantalizing courses. For Julie and Julia, cooking is a method of getting away from the troubles of real life. They are saved by food. For the audience, the two leads once again prove their talents, embodying characters of natural cinematic appeal. Director Nora Ephron handles the material well, blending the two narratives, the two locations, and comedy and drama into a delicious tale of a deliriously cheery woman and a typical, practical city girl who are each liberated by preparing the most mouthwatering of treats. It’s a simple, charmingly pleasant film well worth a look; however, for all its amusement, it’s certainly not a masterpiece.

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10