PG, 122 minutes
Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina
Julie and Julia interweaves two stories: Julia Child (Streep) in Paris, learning to cook and embarking on her great project; and writer Julie Powell (the charming Adams), racing through the 524 recipes in Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (or MtAoFC) in 365 days in her pokey kitchen in Queens, blogging all the way.
The two stories, unfolding side by side, offer similarities but many contrasts, highlighting how times have changed: Powell’s friendships seem superficial; the Childs’ are profound and long lasting; Powell’s marriage breaks down at one point; the Childs’ bonds are as sturdy as a concrete foundation. And while Powell’s accomplishment is impressive and it’s gratifying when publishers start to call, it unfolded over a year. Julia’s prodigious work took nine years, sustained by passion and conviction: the researching, testing again and again, collaborating with her co-writers, deconstructing and adapting French traditions for an American context, writing, rewriting and writing again.
The movie both entertains and reminds us that sharing food lavished with care, is one of the great joys of life, and we create meaning and memories by taking time to celebrate at a beautifully set table.