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Julia & Julia

Released: 2009

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 2 hr 3 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Nora Ephron

Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jane Lynch

Parallel stories about Julia Child and a modern-day writer.

A delicious concoction of two delectable stories.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

JULIE & JULIA is a delicious concoction of two delectable stories, but the surprise is that Amy Adams sweetly understated performance goes down much easier than Meryl Streep's showy shtick, which too often becomes almost indigestibly larger than life.

Set in both early 1950s France and in 2002 Queens, the movie cuts between the two environments, one of large, beautiful buildings and one of a cramped, noisy apartment. Based on two true stories and adapted from two different books, the innovative script and the careful editing strikes just the right balance as it slowly shifts between time periods and locales.

When we meet the gregarious Julia Child (Streep), she is married to Paul Child, a diplomat played by Stanley Tucci. Described as a woman who was a 40-year-old virgin who couldn't boil an egg, Julia is searching for something to apply her boundless energy to. Since she has only one real passion, "eating," she eventually decides that a career as a chef or a cooking teacher might be something she would enjoy. In no time, she rises from the nearly ignored only woman in her cooking class to a woman who is a speed demon at everything she does. A typically funny sequence has her producing a mountain of chopped onions large enough to bury a couple of basketballs.

Meanwhile in the parallel story set in 2002, Julie Powell (Adams) has a thankless job as a much abused telephone counselor to the families of 9/11 victims who want to know what the holdup is on their restitution. Seeking an outlet for her energies, she tells her husband Eric (Chris Messina), who works for a magazine, that she plans on working her way through Julia Child's famous tome, "The Art of French Cooking."

More specifically, Julie plans on spending the next 365 nights cooking, in order, every one of the 541 recipes in Julia's cookbook. Julie, who worships Julia as something of a god, plans on blogging to the world about her experiences, making her endeavor something like a reality television series, sans television.

Director Nora Ephron manages to make Julie's writing to her blog interesting, which is tricky in a visual medium like the movies. Too often lots of typing become tedious to watch, but not in JULIE & JULIA. I think the secret is Amy Adams's compelling voice-over, which goes down as smooth as honey.

Although it's extremely funny in sections, what won me over in JULIE & JULIA was Adams's endlessly charming performance.

JULIE & JULIA runs 2:03. It is rated PG-13 for "brief strong language and some sensuality" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.