Julie and Julia

I like to keep myself well rounded with the movies I watch, so that means every now and then I’ll watch a chick-flick with my wife. The chick-flick du jour was Julie and Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

The movie is based on 2 separate true stories about Julia Child and Julie Powell. The Julia Child side explains a bit about her backstory and eventual rise to fame with her cookbook and TV show. The more obscure Julie Powell’s story centers around a period of her life when she decides to make every recipe within in a year in the French cookbook that Julia Child is responsible for. Powell wrote a blog about the experience which is where she gained her notoriety. Interestingly, both stories don’t happen in the same time period, so the movie has a period piece feel as well as modern day sense at the same time.

Unfortunately, the movie is a bit slow, at least my wife and I thought so, but then again we’re not really the demographic for this movie. My mom however, loved the film, which makes sense because she is the demo here. I kind of figured that the movie wasn’t going to be overly energetic and that the pacing would be a bit slower. I thought it was a little long though and that some things could’ve been shortened. Overall, I wanted to watch this film because of the 2 principal actors – Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, who I think are both gifted in their craft, so I wanted to see their performances.

Meryl Streep is amazing as Julia Child as you’d think she’d be since the woman can seem to do no wrong on the big screen. And boy does she have this nailed down – from the voice to the subtle physical mannerisms of Julia Child, Meryl Streep has it all covered. Amy Adams is good in her role but the problem is that her character isn’t all that interesting and turns out to be a bit annoying actually. There are also some unrealistic moments with her character such as when Julie and her husband have a fight over her obsession with the recipes she’s trying to make – he leaves for a couple days, comes back and just sort of walks back in picking up where they left off. My wife and I talked about this and thought it was a bit too neat and tidy; this sequence could’ve been a more interesting and realistic confrontation but they just kind of glossed over it. Stanley Tucci plays Julia Child’s husband and is solid as always.

Nora Ephron directed and did a great job of telling these stories in a tandem fashion even though they take place in different time periods. The transitions back and forth are seemless and flow well yet still capture the scenery and feel of each era.

If you’re into watching good acting performances or are into cooking or are a middle aged to older woman, then there’s a good chance you’ll like this.

reviewed by Sean McKnight