Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Julie & Julia


Review by Patrick Hodges

Meryl Streep is undoubtedly the finest actress of her generation.  Amy Adams is becoming one of the finer actresses of this generation.  To have them together in a film is something to behold, and to have it happen twice within a year is even more special.  It was only nine months ago that Streep and Adams shared the screen as stern-as-stone nuns in Doubt.  I am happy to say, Julie & Julia is a much more uplifting and charming story.

Based on two true stories, Julie & Julia chronicles, first and foremost, the life of world-renowned chef Julia Child (Streep).  Living in France with her diplomat husband Paul (Stanley Tucci), she decides to go to cooking school, a decision that is met with many raised eyebrows.  From there, she decides that her calling in life is to find a way to bring French cuisine to the average American home, something especially difficult in an era saturated with mostly canned goods and cake mixes.

Child, for those who have seen any of her many cooking programs on television, is known for two things:  her considerable height (she was 6’1”) and her flighty, near-falsetto voice.  And though it takes some visual trickery to make the 5’6” Streep fill Child’s enormous shoes, she is able to carry off the movements of a large person admirably.  And the voice is spot-on.  (It’s Meryl Streep, do you really expect anything less?)

Told concurrently with Child’s life’s story is the story of Julie Powell (Adams), a New Yorker who in 2002 was working in a cubicle farm, lived in a tiny apartment with her husband (Chris Messina) above a pizzeria, and was frustrated as hell that her life became so directionless – especially during her weekly lunches with her now-incredibly-successful college friends.

So she decides to embark on a project:  she will honor her muse and hero, Julia Child, by cooking all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the space of one year, and blog about it every step of the way.  She hits more than a few bumps in the road along the way, but gradually, her little blog starts to develop a following.

Adams is adorable as Powell, and is rapidly becoming one of my favorite and diverse actresses.  Streep, as I said, is flawless as Child, attacking her craft with verve and panache.  And though their characters are never on the screen at the same time, they are connected through their love of cooking.  The end result is a funny, touching, heartwarming story that will have you smiling when you leave the theater.  (And the close-up shots of the food will have you hungry for more than just theater concessions, I’ll tell you that much!)

4 / 5 stars


Comments (1):

  • Michelle @ 02/17/2010 ( 7:18:00 PM )
    Waited a while to see this was very disappointed in it. Again the trailer is better than the movie, which lately happens way to much!
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