My Review of “Julie & Julia”
Driving to the Saturday session of the Television Critics Assn. Summer Press Tour in Pasadena this morning, I heard two film reviewers on KPPC praising one-half of Julie & Julia – the Meryl Streep half.
I saw the film yesterday with a very appreciative audience at The Grove and I can tell you with certainty that the entire movie is delightful, funny and, yes, inspiring.
Streep’s performance as Julia Child is joyous and goes well beyond being an impersonation. She captures the woman’s lust for life (and for her husband, played by Stanley Tucci), her wonderful humor and indomitable spirit and, on a few rare occasions, her pain.
This goes right to the top of Streep’s best performances and I enjoyed every minute she was on screen from Julia’s life in Paris starting in the late 40s through to her landmark cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking being published in the early 60s.
(It is also great to see the great Jane Lynch in her scenes as Julia’s sister who comes to Paris for a visit and ends up finding love. She and Streep have some wonderfully fun scenes together.)
In the film’s present day story, Amy Adams plays Julie Powell, a woman on the verge of 30 looking for meaning in her life. She aspires to cook all 524 recipes from Child’s cookbook and decides to blog about it. The stories were interwoven nicely as both women find themselves through cooking.
Adams is wonderful, as usual, and has terrific chemistry with on-screen husband played by an adorable Chris Messina. As a blogger myself, I related a lot to the Julie scenes in the film which capture the life of a blogger quite well – the solitary nature most times, the odd hours, the obsession with blog traffic and this often stern reminder from friends or family: “Do not put that in your blog!”
Written and directed by Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia was adapted from Miss Child’s memior My Life in France and from Miss Powell’s book and I think it is Miss Ephron’s most accomplished work to date.
You will leave the theater having laughed and felt like you spent time with very smart and interesting people. You will also be in the mood for a very good Ftench meal!
As for Miss Streep, she will get yet another Academy Award nomination for this performance – it would be her 16th nod – and, I hope, will finally win that elusive and long overdue third Oscar.
The film also looks to be Meryl’s third consecutive summer box office hit after last year’s Mamma Mia and 2007′s The Devil Wears Prada. It took in $7.5 million in ticket sales on Friday and is on pace for an opening weelend of around $20 million. i expect this to be a movie with legs that will continue to do solid business for many weeks to come.