Julie & Julia (2009)

Biography, Drama, Romance
Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Chris Messina, Stanley Tucci
Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book.
Boosted by Meryl Streep's charismatic performance as Julia Child, Julie and Julia is a light, but fairly entertaining culinary comedy.
  • Sony/Columbia Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 07 Aug 2009 Released:
  • 08 Dec 2009 DVD Release:
  • $94.1M Box office:

All subtitles:

Trailer:

Delightful Instant Classic. I Laughed. I Cried. But "Julie" Part a Bit Weak.8/10
The good parts of "Julie and Julia" are so darn strong, beautiful, and new that J&J becomes an instant classic. Grateful audiences are going to be laughing and crying and being inspired by this movie for a long, long time. The Julie portion is the weaker of the two, but not so weak that it sinks the film.

Meryl Streep as Julia Child is one of the most endearing, arresting performances ever. That the real Julia Child and her groupies irritate me no end in no way interfered with my appreciation of Streep's amazing characterization. I laughed and cried several times, I was so engaged in the cinematic Streep/Child's story.

Streep's chemistry with Stanley Tucci as Paul Child, Julia's husband, is breathtaking. No attempt is made to make Streep or Tucci conventionally attractive. No attempt is made to make them look young and dewy – they weren't – Julia married Paul when she was in her thirties and he was ten years older. Julia is tall; Paul is short; Julia is loud; Paul is bald, quiet and retiring. It is implied that they can't have children. They don't share conventionally romantic movie moments; they don't "meet cute," there's no candlelight, no slow dances, no full frontal nudity, no vulgar language (with one hilarious exception involving cannelloni).

All Paul and Julia do is share the drudgery and rewards of working life: hers as a cook, his as a state department official. The key to Streep and Tucci's chemistry is that they portray two characters who love each other. Watching a loving, married couple in a marriage that works is one of the great, and sadly rare, pleasures of this film. Steep and Tucci are every bit as charismatic a couple as Tracy and Hepburn. Jane Lynch is also brilliant in a small role as Julia's sister.

The Julia segments take place in post-war Paris, and the Paris of this film, one of elegant cafes, haute couture and vintage cars, is someplace we all wished we lived (except for the ever-present cigarette smoke.) No matter how you feel about cooking, the film gets you to care about Julia's slowly being drawn into her destiny as one of the legendary chefs of all time. You also care about, and respect, Paul, his career and its ups and downs in the McCarthy era, and his support of his wife.

The Julie Powell portion of the movie is the weaker portion. I really like the film's structure of switching back and forth between contemporary Queens and post-war Paris, contrasting a career woman's attempt to cook all of Julia Child's recipes with Julia Child herself, before she became famous. I just think that the film fails its own structure by simply not making the Julie Powell portion as interesting as the Julia Child portion. Some have complained that Queens is depicted as being too dismal, and Paris too elegant. It's more than that, though.

I think Ephron, a brilliant filmmaker, drops the ball with Julie Powell because she never engages the tough questions about Powell's experiment. Was Powell just someone eager for fame in the Warhol era of "Everyone is famous for fifteen minutes"? Was Powell parasitizing Child's fame? Was Powell a bad wife to her husband as she obsessed on completing her self assigned task? Have blogs killed quality writing? Was Julia Child correct in her condemnation of Powell? I am not saying that the answer to any of the above questions is "Yes." I'm not bashing Julie Powell. I'm saying that by not engaging them, Ephron made the Julie portion of the film simply not as interesting as it could have been had these very real questions been engaged. Instead, Ephron tries to turn Julie into a cute, bland Meg Ryan character, and it never works, not for an instant. When Powell has lunch with her career gal friends, her friends are such Gordon Gecko style sharks that we care less for Powell for being so needy as to want to impress them. The absolute worst scene in the movie comes when Powell, who has never been depicted as feeling happy or fulfilled, not with her job, not with her husband, not with her home life, plays 65 answering machine messages from agents, editors, and publishers who want to make her famous. As these messages play, she has sex with her husband, and her husband's comment lets us know that this is the first time in a long while that he has experienced satisfaction from his wife.

The message of that scene is so tawdry, it cheapens the glow created by the Julia portion of the film, that shows Julia Child achieving satisfaction *before she ever becomes famous*. Julia *loved* cooking. Julia *loved* her husband. Yes, she celebrates when Knopf wants to publish her book, but she is so divorced from the rat race that she doesn't even know how to pronounced "Knopf" – whether the initial K is silent.

Julie Powell is depicted as needing fame to feel good about herself, and the movie never interrogates that. Had it done so, the Julie segments would have been as interesting as the Julia ones.

In any case, this is a great film that will enjoy a much deserved embrace by its fans.
Cinematic treats in the story about gastronomic ones8/10
Twenty years after writing her best screenplay so far, When Harry Met Sally... (movie directed by Rob Reiner), Nora Ephron has finally matched it, at least with one story in her latest attempt titled Julie & Julia. In the meantime, combining it with her writing talents, she has directed a string of movies, including her commonly most acclaimed film Sleepless in Seattle, as well as seriously under-appreciated, though oddly amusing lineup of eccentric characters, brought together in the movie Mixed Nuts, remade from its French original.

Julie & Julia has immediately placed itself on top of my personal list of her self-penned directorial accomplishments. Based on two true stories, movie combines six decades separated lives of Julia Child (Meryl Streep), wife of an American diplomat (Stanley Tucci) in post-WW2 Paris, discovering her passion for French cuisine, then introducing it to American amateurs, and modern era Julie Powell (Amy Adams), professionally reduced to a hot line counselling 'cubicle girl', desperately entertaining her unfulfilled literary ambitions via blogging about her attempt to try and finish all 524 recipes from Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days.

Ms. Streep's acting is great as always, this time even aided by the physical grandeur of her greater-than-life on-screen persona, undoubtedly achieved by means of never visible pair of platform shoes, providing that she's impersonating genuinely tall person, as real Julia Child apparently was. Adding to it Mr. Tucci's notable performance in his role of a diplomat and supportive husband, as well as Ms. Adams's, well, not so remarkable, but still passable performance in her role of Julie, backed by yet another understanding and supportive husband (Chris Messina), combined they present us with the movie abundant not only with gastronomic treats, but cinematic ones, as well. (8-star rating as a rounded up average between 9-star Julia's and 6-star Julie's story.)
Delicious8/10
I was lucky enough to receive tickets for an advance screening, and was plenty excited about attending.

There was a slight hiccup when someone started the film 15 minutes before it was meant to start so they stopped it ten minutes in and then restarted it again at the actual time. This actually was not annoying at all because it gave me a chance to look at the background details. Mid-20th century Paris is beautifully rendered and early 20th century New York is given gritty charm with a primary setting of an apartment over a pizza parlor.

Now I know it was an advance screening and everyone was excited to be there, thus much more prone to laugh, but honestly, this film had brilliant moments of humor in it. Myself, friends, and the rest of audience had a number of laugh-out-loud moments. A lot of these stem from the mannerisms of Julia Child, which are as incredibly endearing as they are humorous.

Meryl Streep's acting is, of course, superb. Though my familiarity with Julia Child is a combination of what seems to be legend, a visit to her kitchen in the Smithsonian, and Dan Akroyd's SNL impersonation, Meryl plays Julia so charming and so convincing, you can't help but feel like Julie and fall a little in love with her. On screen, Meryl's Julia brought a constant smile to my face.

Amy Adams is also wonderful, and I really connected with her as Julie Powell. She also does great humor. I found her to be very subtle in her approach and even quite sympathetic when not going through her good moments. Chris Messina as Julie's husband, Eric, does a lot to keep these moments fresh. Finally, Stanley Tucci as Paul Child plays well off Meryl, and dare I as a 21-year-old say it about actors so much older than me? Meryl and Paul honestly have great chemistry.

What really steals the show and appears great on cinema is both Julia and Julie's cooking expenditures. Make sure to eat before attending, I can't stress that enough because the food looks amazing.

As for the negative, the film does drag a bit in the middle. The switching between Julie and Julia POV works great at the beginning and at the end, but I think in the middle, it just makes the plot drag.

Overall, definitely worth going to see and quite enjoyable just make sure to eat before attending!
Wonderful! Charming! Don't go hungry!9/10
Saw this movie at a private screening last night. What a lovely movie! Amy Adams is playing Julie -- a part that Meg Ryan used to play when she was young and adorable. Amy so is! Chris Messina as Eric, her husband, is a saint (you'll understand why I say that when you see the movie). Stanley Tucci is wonderful and you'll just love him. But nobody can top La Streep! Every time she appears on screen, the film just glows. She is amazing and you will smile every time you see Julia on screen. The only thing that might upstage Meryl is the food being cooked. I had eaten dinner before I went but was actually salivating several times during the movie. Julia Child made French food accessible and you will want to eat -- a lot afterward. Everyone was laughing a lot -- sometimes on top of lines being said, which made us miss the next few lines. This is NOT a chick flick -- I highly recommend this for people 14 and older (younger kids will probably be bored ---- silly younger kids!). I am just amazed at Meryl Streep! She's a true talent. Oh, I was happy to see Jane Lynch appear briefly. Love her! Go, go, go!
Meryl Streep8/10
Ms. Streep's performance alone makes this film worthwhile--in recent years she has really shown her great talent as a comedian (Adaptation, Devil Wears Prada, this film). She has great comic timing, and always goes just far enough for the laugh, and usually not too far that it feels staged or unnatural.

From the reviews I read, I was really expecting not to like the "Julie" half of this movie--but I was pleasantly surprised. I read both "Julie and Julia" and "My Life in France" earlier this summer, and I have to confess that I didn't love the Julie Powell book. Amy Adams really brings this character to life and makes you care about her (more so, I think than the book did). One problem with the balance in this project is that Julia Child did something really important for cooking in America, and so her story is inherently interesting. Julie Powell wrote a book. That became a movie. Add to that the fact that the heavy hitters in the film all live on the Julia side--Streep, Stanley Tucci, and a great cameo by Jane Lynch--and the deck feels fully stacked. Full credit to Amy Adams and Chris Messina, then, for making us care about the half of the film that teetered on the edge of the perfunctory.

This film is all the more remarkable in that it is so rare to see a film these days that just revels in joie-de-vivre. I'm sure a lot of the rough edges of Julia's personality are smoothed over--but some of the stressful moments are there. I just felt so much affection for Streep's Julia Child in this movie--and I laughed repeatedly and heartily at her antics. A fun time at the movies--which is a rarer pleasure than it should be.