What do you get when you add a generous helping of Meryl Streep, an equal part of Amy Adams, and a dash of Stanely Tucci? You get the absolutely charming and Oscar nominated movie Julie & Julia. The movie begins by telling the story of Julia Child and her husband Paul when they move to Paris for Paul to fill a diplomatic post. After learning of Child’s move to her adopted city, the story of Julie Powell begins. She is a mid-level government bureaucrat and aspiring journalist. Julie is also moving, but not to a place as beloved as Paris, but to Queens, at Powell’s dismay. On the surface these two women from two different generations have nothing in common, except for the love of cooking and eating food. The lives of Julie and Julia mirror each other as they both embark are the adventure of finding what to do with their lives. Julia Child goes to Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and begins to write a French cook book for the servant-less American cook. Julie Powell decides to cook her way through the aforementioned cookbook and write a blog about it.
This movie is actually based on two books: Julie & Julia, My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child. Nora Ephron, the writer and director of the movie, combines the two stories seamlessly as the plot switches from Julie and her modern issues to that of Julia and her amazing life in 1950s Paris. The writing is clever and heartfelt. The entire movie showcases Ephron’s witty repartee when it comes to romance and relationships in general. It is amazing how two different women, living in two different decades, and in two different parts of the world can be so much alike.
Setting aside the amazing food in this movie which makes your stomach growl, the performances of Meryl Streep and Amy Adams will have you asking for a second helping. Streep is masterful as the iconic Julia Child, with every flick of her knife and sprinkle of salt over her shoulder. Adams shows her acting chops as the vulnerable Julie Powell who still looking for her way into the world. She has all the ingredients to make a legendary actress, much like a younger Streep. The always amazing Stanley Tucci plays Julia’s husband Paul Child and adds this role to his many other character driven performances. Newcomer Chris Messina plays Julie’s husband Eric and he and Adams are as perfect together as peanut butter and jelly. Julie & Julia is a full-course meal of human emotion ranging from sweet laughter to bitter tears. All of the ingredients, including acting, writing, and directing, all come together to make a delicious and soul-satisfying story. In the words of Julia Child, it is truly “Bon Appetite!”