Meryl Streep has channeled Julia Child. She is marvelous. I love her. Like Julia, I love food and I love cooking, so this movie spoke to me, though I am sure you could be culinarily impaired and still enjoy it on many levels. It is very frequently very funny and just plain fun to watch.
The story is two women separated by 50+ years find themselves at loose ends and both of them find their salvation through food. Julia Child happens to be stationed with her Foreign Service husband in France and boredom takes her to cooking school at the Cordon Bleu which leads her to write that first cookbook which launched her onto the American culinary scene. The Julie is Julie Powell, a young woman just about to turn 30, working for some government agency dealing with the 9/11 victims, who decides to take a year and cook her way through Julia Child’s first cookbook and blog about it. It is a way for her to reignite her once promising writing career.
Cutting back and forth between the modern Julie’s trials and tribulations and Julia’s mostly wonderful escapades we are supposed to draw some connection, yet there really isn’t any. They are very different women with very different attitudes and lives. Amy Adams as Julie is not entirely lovable. Sure, you want her to succeed, but mostly, you just want the story to get back to Julia and her husband played wonderfully warm and sexy by Stanley Tucci. It’s like the Julia part is the meat with a wonderful buttery sauce and the Julie part is, well, just a side dish. Julie has mean girlfriends and a not so nice Mom and a dreary job. All she really has is the blog and a nice husband. But Julia lives in Paris, or Marseille or Oslo, having been stationed in China before. She has a life. She goes to the Cordon Bleu and shops at the street markets in Paris. That’s the meat. And she is alive to the ends of her toes. It is one of those performances where you feel sorry for the other actors in the movie. Meryl must have had such fun with this role. We all do our Julia Child impressions, but she got to get inside it and live it.
Be prepared to leave hungry, but not for anything without butter. I am sitting here craving a baguette and butter to dip into a big pot of boeuf bourguignon. I do have my very nice glass of red. And my cookbooks. Time for a dinner party.
“Life itself is the proper binge.” –Julia Child
Read the source material: