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August 5, 2009 > Movie Review: Julie and Julia

Movie Review: Julie and Julia

By Heidi Leung

Julie and Julia is without a doubt one of the most heartfelt and delightful films of 2009. Based on Julie Powell's book of the same title, it has been adapted for the cinema by none other than romantic comedy extraordinaire Nora Ephron, also responsible for "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail."

Julia Child is best known as the extremely tall, goofy, and shrill voiced author of the classic cook book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." She is said to have changed the way Americans cooked and ate. Julie Powell is a woman who works a depressing customer service job and is never able to finish anything she starts. As a result, she challenges herself by starting a blog where she tries to cook all 542 recipes in Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days.

Aside from the similar name, the two women don't have much in common aside from their love of cooking. Their personalities could not have been more different; in fact, Julia Child is said to have despised Julie Powell's blog. Still, Powell finds hope and inspiration from Child's wonderfully positive personality, letters, and recipes.

There are not enough words to say just how brilliantly Nora Ephron's script translates to the screen. It manages to flip back and forth between both women in effortless transitions that relate to one another in a subtle but effective way. Beginning the film with a beautiful shot of Paris, the audience is transported to 1948, when Julia Child and her husband Paul first move to France. As quickly as Julia falls in love with Paris, the audience falls in love with her. Meryl Streep's performance as Julia Child is one word... brilliant. With a single phrase she captures the character. "Bon Jour!" Everyone becomes putty in her hands.

Fast forward to 2002, Julie Powell's worried face appears on screen. She despises Queens, NY but her husband Eric is convinced that 900 sq. feet will change her mind. Constantly plagued with emotional meltdowns and a horrible job, Amy Adams as Julie Powell breaks away from her typical overly cheerful roles to show that she is indeed a talented actress. Somehow she manages to make a whiney and annoying girl endearing.

Although the film is about the two women, they would not be complete without their other halves. After all, Julia Child would not be who she is without the love of her husband Paul and Julie Powell would not have started her blog without the encouragement from her husband Eric. Stanley Tucci (Paul) and Chris Messina (Eric) both did wonderful jobs in their roles. Though they are technically supporting roles, any absence of these two characters would have rendered the film meaningless.

The most amazing part of Julie and Julia is not just the intense amount of mouth watering food imagery or the acting; it's the fact that somehow, the film interweaves romance with both these elements, has hardly any drama, and is still be able to keep the audience captivated. This may actually be Nora Ephron's most wonderful film. Heartwarming, hilarious, and visually stimulating, Julie and Julia is a must see.

Runtime: 123 mins.
Rated: PG-13

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