Here in the Midwest, this summer hasn’t been so hot. The same could be said for the Summer Blockbuster selections this year. That is, until now. I knew going in, that Julie & Julia would be a good story and a hit because it had one of the greatest actresses alive starring in it, Meryl Streep.
Streep played Julia Child, the infamous chef, and Amy Adams played Julie Powell, a struggling writer, currently working in a cubicle for a very depressing job. The story is an intertwining of Julia Child in France, 1949 and her start at becoming a chef, and Julie Powell in Queens, NY 2002. Powell decides to start a blog about cooking all of Child’s recipes in 365 days and writing about all the ups and downs that went with it.
The audience feels the ups and downs throughout mainly due to the strong acting. First, I have to talk about Meryl Streep. You could say that I am a fan and that would be an understatement. She is brilliant at anything she does. Everything she is in, turns to gold. So I’m sure when Oscars roll around, you will be hearing about this film again. She definitely had the “voice.” Julia Child’s famous warbly voice that has been the butt of many jokes for years. Only in this film, you really learn to love it. The voice and the smile, just draw you in and you can’t help but love this woman. Streep portrays Child as sweet, endearing, animated and a bit crazy; a very entertaining crazy though. One scene has Child preparing at home to be the very best student in her cooking class at Cordon Blue, and she is practicing chopping onions, an entire BAG of onions. When her husband walks in, he is almost knocked over at the doorway from the pungent fumes being emitted from a foot high pile of chopped onions. He immediately starts rubbing his eyes and as she talks, you can see that she has just been wiping the tears away for about an hour just to practice. The kicker is she then tries to offer to make dinner for him. I bet it had onions in it.
Amy Adams was just as sweet and lovable as Streep. I felt for her every time she had a melt down after ruining another meal. I have personal experience in that department too. There was a lobster meal in which I would have reacted the exact same way as Powell did. The two characters had many comparisons such as both marrying very supportive, loving men and when they both felt lost, they found themselves in cooking. There were many differences too which made this feel like a mother-daughter relationship. Child was six foot tall and Powell, more on the short side. Child was powerful and confident and Powell was mousy and a bit of a push over.
One thing I didn’t prepare for was bringing some tissue with me. The characters are so charming and lovable that any pain they feel, you will feel as well. Any laughter from the character’s actions induced the “happy tear” effect also. Not only will you leave the theater satisfied, but hungry as well. There are so many dishes prepared in this that it has inspired me to try to cook more elaborate meals myself. My husband will be happy to hear that. As long as he doesn’t mind hearing the smoke alarm go off a few times.
I never really knew much about Julia Child before this film. I didn’t know that she was married, but never had any children. I didn’t know that before cooking, she worked as a spy for the government. Which seemed to stick with her for many years afterward, as she was always looking over her shoulder for someone. I also didn’t know that they are still actively printing her book: Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
I was highly impressed with this movie. I had high expectations for it and it met them and went above. In the movie world, I hope summer is just arriving late, because I am ready for more heart-wrenching, pull you in, can’t take your eyes away kind of films.
I give Julie & Julia 4 “industrial-sized butters” out of 5.
by Angela Davis