Two women from different eras, try to do something productive with their time and end up conquering anonymity and gain self-worth by devoting their time and energy to culinary creations. Adapted from a novel by Julie Powell, Julie & Julia is directed by Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail), who also drew inspiration from Julia Child’s “My Life in France.”
An almost-thirty Julie Powell (a very likeable Amy Adams) is a fan of Julia Child, who gained widespread popularity in 40s America, when she came out with the book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, a book she co-authored with Simone Beck, while in Paris where her husband was posted. When her husband’s job brings them to Long Island, NY, Powell struggles to find a sense of belonging to which her husband suggests that she write a blog to get her bearings.
From there begins the Julie/Julia Project from a tiny apartment kitchen, where Powell gives herself 365 days in which to whip up 524 recipes of Julia Child, while keeping her day job. Inspired by Child, Powell takes on the challenge seriously despite having to be a ‘Lobster Killer’, charring the boeuf bourguignon meant for a guest, being stood up by a food critic, and putting on weight.
Switching parallelly is the life of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) in post-WWII France, who tries her hand at hat making and learning to play bridge before storming the male bastion of Cordon Blue school to become the star student and making it her mission to deconstruct French cooking for servantless Americans.
Julie & Julia is an endearing movie that drags at times, but nonetheless charms you. Despite not having met each other, the two women have some things in common- supportive husbands, both are secretaries for government agencies and overcome discouraging publishing hurdles. Meryl Streep does well as a 6-foot plus Julia – though she’s barely 5′ 6″ – and is supported ably by Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada).
Drawing also from Child’s memoirs, Ephron manages to keep the movie flowing deftly, with an efficient mix of characters, language, politics of the day, culinary talk, and of course, lots of French cooking.
Not a bad movie at all for a lazy Saturday afternoon.