Julia Child loved to eat, at home in her beloved France.
Julie Powell enjoyed her cooking, which she gave a second glance.
Stuck within a headache job in which she was a willing cog,
The modern-day home cook decided she would write a cooking blog.
Since the kitchen was her outlet, her preferred assuring nook,
She could build each recipe from Julia’s eminent cookbook.
Day by day, she baked and brewed and braised and blanched and fricasseed,
Poached and stewed and boiled over, but she would not dare concede.
Though her husband felt ignored as cooking kept her mind obsessed,
He supported her sincerely in her culinary quest.
Julia was her cherished idol, patron saint of food and pluck,
But the actual Julia once did not know how to bone a duck.
She was just a normal housewife, married to a diplomat,
Who resolved to learn to cook instead of idle and get fat.
With two friends, she worked for years upon her culinary tome,
And, although she had to move, she felt that Paris was her home.
Finally, an editor at Knopf approved her manuscript,
Filling Julia with elation when the first edition shipped.
Decades later, Julie Powell completed her demanding mission,
Having garnered her fulfillment and life-changing recognition.
She became an actual writer, on whom tasteful fortune smiled,
And she credited success to her exemplar Julia Child.

In many ways, Julie and Julia was the reason I began this blog. I already had my personal favorite movie list compiled, but I never thought to do anything with it. Then one day, just going about our business, my VC posited the idea of a blog, just as unexpectedly as the concept dawned on Julie Powell. There are plenty of scenes in which I can identify with Julie, in her obsessive schedule trying to keep up with self-imposed deadlines, in the way it threatens to alienate those closest to her, in the satisfied glee she exhibits when she receives an encouraging comment.

After a few duds, Nora Ephron returned to form in this, her last film before her death. Here, she creates not just one, but two perfectly cast couples. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are outstanding as Julia Child and her husband Paul, as are Amy Adams and Chris Messina as Julie and Eric Powell. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this as a guy, but both make utterly “cute” couples. Though Streep received most of the praise for her pitch-perfect impersonation of cooking legend Julia Child (better even than Dan Aykroyd’s), all four actors fill the movie with such down-to-earth vitality, highlighted by Ephron’s script, that Julie and Julia ranks among Ephron’s best. The men in particular are among the sweetest onscreen husbands imaginable. The transitions between the two storylines are adeptly handled, and both are permeated with endearing incidents, realistic conflict in which neither side is completely in the wrong, and culinary adventures that manifest a true passion for cuisine.

While the film doesn’t end as strongly as I would have liked, indicating that Julia Child herself did not approve of Julie’s blog and then ignoring that seemingly significant point, Julie and Julia is a lighthearted visit with four captivating, relatable people that will make you want to head for the kitchen…or at least the nearest restaurant.

Best line: (Paul Child) “What is it you REALLY like to do?”
(Julia) “Eat!”
[They laugh.]
(Paul) “And you’re so good at it. Look at you!”


Artistry: 9
Characters/Actors: 10
Entertainment: 10
Visual Effects: N/A
Originality: 8
Watchability: 10
Other (deft script and endearing, episodic plot): +3
Other (brief language): -1
TOTAL: 49 out of 60

Next: #135 – Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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