By Sandra Kraisirideja
“Julie & Julia” combines my two favorite passions: film and food, but those are not the only reasons why I enjoyed this new comedy from writer-director Nora Ephron.
“Julie & Julia” is exactly the kind of movie women say they want to see. It’s funny, smart and unconventional. The only way studios will be encouraged to make more movies like this is, however, is if it does well at the box office.
Ephron had the clever idea to base this movie on two memoirs: “My Life in France” written by Julia Child and “Julie & Julia” written by Julie Powell, hence the “Julie” and “Julia” in the film’s title.
“My Life in France” chronicles Child’s time in France where she cultivated her cooking skills. “Julie & Julia” is all about Powell’s year-long quest to make all of the recipes in Child’s seminal book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Powell’s book began as a daily blog which she wrote to chronicle her year-long experiment. In fact, “Julie & Julia” may be the first movie to be based on a blog.
Meryl Streep plays Child and Amy Adams is Powell. Stanley Tucci plays Child’s husband, Paul and Chris Messina plays Powell’s husband, Eric. Messina is reminiscent of Mark Ruffalo.
The story takes place in two time periods as it skips between Child’s life and Powell’s. The script goes back and forth between the two different time periods of the women’s lives very easily and the structure of the movie is not confusing.
Female comedies usually focus on a character’s pursuit of a romantic relationship, but in “Julie & Julia” the two main characters are already married. The emotional part of their lives has been fulfilled but each feels there is something missing in their lives.
Both women were competent and well-educated with a flair for cooking and a passion for food. Both found fulfilling careers through food and loving support and encouragement from their husbands.
Ephron has created a strong script and her directorial style feels fluid and noninvasive. While Streep and Adams previously co-starred together in “Doubt,” the talented actresses never cross paths in “Julie & Julia.”
Both storylines are compelling and Streep and Adams are a pleasure to watch. Ephron gives equal time to both stories, which helps keep the audience engaged.
If you plan to see this movie, I suggest planning dinner afterward at your favorite French restaurant. Just like “Julie & Julia,” it will be well worth the effort.
Top photo: Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Bottom photo: Amy Adams as Julie Powell.
© 2009 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.