Julie & Julia – 2009 DVD

Starring: Amy Adams, Chris Messina, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci

Directed by:  Nora Ephron  Screenplay by:  Nora Ephron

I am personally fascinated with cooking and because of my absolute love of food I find it quite enjoyable. I have always been a fan of Julia Child if for nothing more than the sheer entertainment value of her shows I watched as a kid.   She was a beloved cooking show host and her approach, although technical, was also awkward, messy, and quite comical at times.  In the end she always managed to produce a beautiful dish that somehow always had me salivating.

“Julie & Julia” is a parallel culmination of two books: Julie Powell’s book which is about her personal project and Julia Child’s book which is about her life in France. It is the telling of two different women from two very different times intertwined to tell how Julie, a young woman in her late twenties, can find a sense of meaning almost spiritual in nature through inspiration found from a cookbook written by Julia Child.

Julie is worker for a government agency who fields calls concerning the disasters of 9-11 and future plans for a memorial and such. It is a stressful and depressing job that she is not particularly fond of and she seems only able to cope by the joy she gets from cooking. This is when the idea hits her and she decides to cook her way through “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child. With her husbands encouragement, she challenges herself to wade through the 500+ recipes, from the book, in 365 days and also write a blog about it. A substantial task to say the least.

When I first read about this movie I was intrigued and curious, but, I must admit that I tend to shy away from these kinds of movies because they don’t typically personify my taste in cinema. After finally getting around to watching I was trying to remember the last time I was that glad that I watched a movie that I was convinced I wouldn’t like. I would say most likely when I finally saw “The Devil Wears Prada”, which just so happens to have the same leading lady.

When the 2009 Oscar Nominations were announced my first thought was, “Geez, here we go again! Meryl Streep nominated again for an Oscar? C’mon, she’s good but the Academy is just Cuckoo over her, that’s all!” Then I watched the movie. Wow…I’ve seen most all of Meryl Streep’s films and is it any wonder she dominates awards season? Her performance here is nothing less than STELLAR and her versatility as an actress is leaps above the competition.

Combined with Amy Adams, who was fabulous alongside Streep in “Doubt” and Stanley Tucci, who’s performance was worthy of a Supporting Actor nod, Julie & Julia is a lighthearted and fun loving tale of one woman’s desire to step out of the ordinary doing something that ends up having extraordinary results. This movie was fun from start to finish and I was actually sad that it ended, I could have actually went for more.

Some critics believe this story has no plot and that it is flawed, but I disagree. For me, the story is very straight forward, easy to follow, fluid in delivery, has a beginning – a middle – and an end, and does not lack for detail. The cinematography at times is stunning and stories were very creatively spliced.

Nora Ephron has done an amazing job with her direction on this film and I believe, now, that this is one of my favorite films of 2009. Maybe it is because I am passionate about the art and science cooking, but I think it is more because this is simply a great film. Bon Apetit!