“Julie & Julia”

Julie & Julia is a delightful film that has one special ingredient that makes it quite outstanding. Based on the non fiction book by Julie Powell this heartwarming film chronicles the lives of two women living decades apart but joined by the passion and the essence of cooking. Julia Child is of course a well known name to most everyone due to her cooking show, cookbooks, and even an SNL skit parodying this larger than life woman. Julie Powell on the other hand might be known to only a few. Yet her story makes for a fun movie when paralleled with the great Mrs. Child.

It is 2002 and Julie (Amy Adams) is an aspiring writer stuck in a dead end government cubicle. When her hubby encourages her to start a blog she decides to chronicle her cooking adventures. Tackling Julia Child’s famous 1961 cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julie attempts to master over 500 recipes in 365 days. Her blog soon takes off and she is consumed not only by the wonders and joys of cooking but the notoriety and pressure that comes with writing about it. The film also bounces to the late 1940’s where we find a not yet famous Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her adoring husband Paul. Based on Child’s memoir, My life in France, we also get to see Julia’s journey into the cooking world.

Director Nora Ephron does a fabulous job of weaving the two tales into a fantastic telling of both stories. There really is no main character. Even though the film is based on the book and blog by Powell I found myself riveted and wanting to see more of Child’s side. This was mostly due to the unbelievable performance by Streep. (The special ingredient I alluded to earlier) This woman never ceases to astound me by how she can embody a character so flawlessly and come across so natural. Julia Child is no easy person to mimic. Her stature alone at six-two plus her boisterous flair for food makes her so unique. Streep relayed these qualities marvelously. Adams as well proves to be quite the solid performer. I am not sure she mimicked the real life Powell, but the essence and genuine spirit she brought to the role worked perfectly for the film.

Julie & Julia is rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality. Granted this would bore most adolescent viewers to tears and contains very little to appeal to them. Still it is safe for those 12 and up. Julia Child’s story was very intriguing to me and the relationship between her and Paul (played wonderfully by Stanley Tucci) is heartwarming and beautiful. You get a glimpse into the life of Mrs. Child that solidifies her as one of TV’s most beloved people. I give it 4.5 out of 5 pats of butter. Though not for everyone, anyone who enjoys a delightful story with picture perfect acting and a feel good spirit throughout will have a joy at this one. So says Matt Mungle.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com) (8/03/09)

(4.5 out of 5)

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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