By Dani White
“Julie & Julia” is screenwriter/director Nora Ephron’s clever concoction based on the parallel lives of two unique women and the food that connects them. The film unfolds with the story of Julie Powell (Amy Adams,) a young woman living an uneventful life in modern day Queens who sets out to make every creation in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” while writing a daily blog about the endeavor.
Adams’ character approaches her mentor’s work with the pluck of a devoted apprentice; but her presence is mild, and pales in comparison to the zesty and luminescent persona of a Julia Child, portrayed by Meryl Streep. The tale stews, while oscillating between eras. The interwoven plot in this film flips unceremoniously back and forth like pages of a disjointed novel making it difficult to maintain a focal point. Although the overall story is distinctive, there is a discord within the recipe of “Julie & Julia” that never quite blends.
The primary ingredient of the film is the ever-alluring air of Julia Child, depicted deftly by Streep. The storyline follows Child’s in her decade-long quest to create a French cuisine cookbook for the regular American woman. Her fascinating journey to cultivate appreciation of culinary excellence is perfectly complimented by attractive scenes of Parisian delicacies, markets and gloriously buttery dishes. Child’s legendary larger-than-life influence and intrepidness revolutionized the average kitchen fare of her time and that of future generations, drawing household dinner out of the depths of the bland, lifeless monotony of canned foods and casseroles.
Streep’s depiction of the endearing, eccentric culinary icon leaves the audiences wanting seconds. I overheard one theatergoer mention during the credits that he would have preferred “solely the story of Julia Child.” It would be difficult to imagine the success of the film without Streep in the mix.
While “Julie and Julia” is somewhat unbalanced at times, the overall outcome is sweet and enjoyable. Similar to a good home-cooked meal, there is something here for everyone. It is definitely worth shelling out a few dollars to sample.
“Julie & Julia”
Director: Nora Ephron
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina
Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
Reviewer rating: 3 out of 5 stars