Thursday, June 30, 2011

Julie & Julia (2009)

Amy & Meryl

- After working hard as a writer only to be demoralized out of the profession, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) searches for passion and direction in her life. Because her incredibly depressing job answering calls from 9/11 victims in a bureaucratic madhouse is draining her of any will to live, Julie turns to one of her favorite pastimes: cooking.

As easy as 1-2-3, Julie launches blog about her personal challenge to cook all 524 recipes in the famous cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child (Meryl Streep) within 365 days. As Julie's blog takes off however, she runs into more than a few bumps along the way that strains her newfound project, marriage, and self-worth. Julie's personal quest and struggles mirrors some of Julia Child's own struggles to make her mark on the cooking industry throughout the 1950s.

What is especially interesting about Julie & Julia is how it is based on two books - Julie Powell's memoir "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously" and Julia Child's autobiography "My Life In France" - and how it tells the stories of both Julie Powell and Julia Child at the same time. Skillfully written and directed by Nora Ephron (Sleepless In Seattle (1993), You've Got Mail (1998)) the story of both Julie and Julia's lives is told with humor and affection as parallels between the lives of both women are clearly drawn.

With this very funny and touching story Julie & Julia is a very fun viewing experience overall but what is particularly great about the film are the fantastic performances from Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. While Stanley Tucci's supporting role as Julia's husband Paul also deserves mention, Streep and Adams really run the whole show with two very impressive performances. Amy Adams is full of emotion as Julie Powell and Meryl Streep does an excellent job of creating an authentic and relatable human being out of the larger-than-life Julia Childs character who could easily be turned into a caricature by a lesser actor. Julie & Julia is as much of a worthwhile film because of the great performances from Streep and Adams than it is because of the fine story it tells.

CBC Rating: 8/10

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