Friday, August 07, 2009

Review: Julie & Julia

I have been waiting for this film all summer. I mean, food, Meryl Streep, cooking, Nora Ephron - it's got all-time favorite written all over it! And I wasn't disappointed.

Nora Ephron - she of "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," and "You've Got Mail" - has taken two memoirs and successfully blended them into one narrative. Based on Julia Child's "My Life in Paris" and Julie Powell's "Julie & Julia," this dual narrative relates the story of Julia Child's journey from being the wife of a civil servant to being a foodie icon, juxtaposed against the story of writer Julie Powell's challenge to herself to cook every recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year - and blog about her progress. Just as Julia blossoms as she taps into her love of food, so does Julie blossom as she channels Julia.

It's a terrific story. The older I get, and the more I see a broader spectrum of films, the more I appreciate Meryl Streep's talent. When I look at the roles she's had in the past year - "Doubt," "Mamma Mia" and now this - I am astounded at her range. She becomes Child in this film - giddy, larger than life, funny, animated. I absolutely love her chemistry with Stanley Tucci as husband Paul Child - they are adoring and sweet, spot on. Amy Adams is one of my favorite young actresses - and she doesn't disappoint here. I did find her half of the film a bit disappointing, however; it just doesn't measure up to the Julia part of the film.

My biggest recommendation if you go see this film: don't go hungry! The food is one of the stars - it all looks so yummy. I had to come home and dig out my own Child cookbook, and I may have to make the famous Boeuf Bourgignon this weekend - my heavens, it looked awesome!!

This is probably Ephron's first non-conventional romantic comedy, but she still shines through. A wonderful cast, a lovely story, beautiful food.... It all adds up to a wonderful film. She even includes Dan Ackroyd's classic SNL skit as Julia - it still makes me laugh so hard I cry!

PS - Look for my high school classmate, Marceline Hugot - she plays Julia's French tutor! Appropriate, since Marceline's dad is French and her mom was our HS French teacher!

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