It is as easy to enjoy Julie & Julia as it is to enjoy a cooking show. This is a good thing as Julie and Julia is 2 hours long and tells two very different but parallel stories: one of a young woman in a dead end job undertaking to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook, the other that of Julia Child herself. Streep’s Julia Child borders on the caricatural at times but she and Julie & Julia are good enough to make you forgive that one flaw. This of course is not a movie you want to watch on an empty stomach.
Julie & Julia picks up Julia Child’s story in 1949 France. Her husband works for the American embassy and Child decides to busy herself by taking cooking lessons at the Cordon Bleu school. It also tells the story of Julie Powell, a woman in her late twenties who is an office drone and has not achieved the kind of success her college classmates have. Her blog about her experiences working through Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
This lighthearted movie almost manages to strike a perfect balance between Julie and Julia. Child and Streep have such strong personalities they do overwhelm Julie and Amy Adams. This is not helped by the fact Julie Powell is not a very well defined character to start with.
The movie sags a bit in the middle around the time Child embarks on writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Julie’s blog starts getting the attention of a magazine. The second half does not quite have the energy of the first.
Nevertheless, Julie & Julia is an absolutely charming, fun to watch movie. It is something anyone who likes Julia Child or cooking will enjoy.
Special Features on Julie & Julia Blu-ray are Commentary with Writer/Director Nora Ephron ; Secret Ingredients: Creating Julie & Julia ; the excellent Family & Friends Remember Julia Child (50 minutes); Julia's Kitchen (how it got to the Smithsonian); Poaching Eggs with Julia Child & Jacques Pépin; Making Hollandaise Sauce with Julia Child & Jacques Pépin; Mark Peel prepares Scrambled Eggs; Suzanne Goin prepares Braised Beef Short Ribs; Steven Lewandowski & Drew Nieporent Prepare Butter Poached Maine Lobster; and movieIQ
The DVD features the commentary track and Creating Julie and Julia.