Julie & Julia, directed and written by Nora Ephron, based on the memoir Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell and My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme has been out for 12 years now and I finally watched it. Julia Child is beloved by so many cooks and bakers of all levels and watching an average woman, Julie, be inspired by her cooking to create a blog is fascinating. It even finally got me to create a blog of my own. Amy Adams and Meryl Streep are in their prime and extremely enjoyable to watch. Streep goes all out as Julia Child and you can tell she’s just having the time of her life as an eccentric cook. Adams, Julie, portrays a very honest American stuck in a job she doesn’t care for and surrounded by friends who are very successful. She also loves to cook and write but never being able to finish things through is a big challenge, again something that plagues so many of us. We can all see ourselves as Julie in one way or another.
As much fun as it would be to grab a cookbook from the shelf and make everything in there, I simply don’t have the money for that. I have the time currently, thanks to COVID-19, but with my gym closed and being on furlough, this is something that won’t be happening anytime soon. So for now, it’s blogging about whatever interests me, yes recipes will come too but maybe once or twice a week.
For the most part, the story is simple you have two women, one middle aged woman learning how to cook French food for Americans the other a young woman challenging herself to make 534 recipes in one year. The difference: Julia does not have a job but goes to culinary school to learn to be chef while writing a book, eventually having to travel around Europe, and trying to get a publisher to publish her lengthy cookbook. The other, Julie, a full-time employee, living in New York and dealing with post 9/11, struggles in her personal and professional life when she decides to start this challenge. She has to deal with her relationship with her family and friends, find time for her husband, where the drama comes in, and blog about every recipe.
The movie is enjoyable and when it falls, it falls hard. The hardest part for anyone is to hear that someone they idolize does not like their work. The saying “don’t meet your idols” is true hear. Adam’s Julie is nearing the end of the challenge, her blog is doing very well to the point where journalists want to interview her, including people close to Julia Child. However, through all this high, of course something bad has to happen. It’s inevitable, whether based on a true story or not. Powell receives two bad news. One is when Judith Jones stands her up about halfway into the movie for “bad weather”, the second is when she receives a call where someone tells her that Julia Child has read her blog and says she isn’t a fan, even goes on to say that Powell is not a serious cook. The devastating news breaks her down and causes more turmoil in her relationship with her husband, played by Chris Messina.
With two leads and two different time periods, I think the struggling part for the movie was how best to divide the time. Splitting the perspective is never easy to do and it’s where the movie gets docked a few points. This movie is just over two hours, and some scenes our leads really aren’t doing anything that it begs the question, why is this relevant? Overall, if you love cooking, Julia Child, Meryl Streep playing Julia Child, this movie is wonderful and cute. I know I learned a lot about her, cooking, blogging, and that I feel like Julie Powell more often than I wish. I’m glad I finally watched this movie, and who knows, maybe it’ll inspire me for my future cooking posts. Overall, I’d rate this a 7/10.