Julia Child spent many years on her definitive cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she took her time because she was obsessed with getting each dish exactly right. Child was not a cook who allowed you much leeway; she expected you to profit by the fruit of her labors, with no shortcuts and no variations. In the fairly charming Julie & Julia, Julie Powell (Amy Adams), an anxious would-be writer, cooks her way through Child’s cookbook in a year, following each recipe to the letter on her blog. It’s not made clear if Child actually read Powell’s blog, which later led to a book and then this movie, but her reported disapproval of it in a scene toward the end casts a retrospective pall over the film, where the likable Adams worships the famous cook as an idol. She’s always watching her on TV, and even delights in viewing the gruesome Dan Aykroyd Saturday Night Live skit where his fluty Child seems to cut open an artery while cooking but refuses to lose her cool. This might remain the gold standard of Child impersonation, but Meryl Streep does an ebullient version of the woman’s goosey, “yum!” persona, right down to the messy hair and elongated vowels. Streep tends to gild the lily in every other scene or so with too much stagy “business,” but she and Stanley Tucci create a very believable happy marriage, just as Adams and her husband (Chris Messina) seem blissfully and convincingly contented most of the time. There’s almost no conflict in either of the stories presented in Julie & Julia, and though this is preferable to contrived conflict, it still leaves us with a rather overlong, lovey-dovey picture.
- Nora Ephron
- Nora Ephron
- Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Jane Lynch
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: