Just like with famous chef Julia Child’s recipes, this film loves to smother itself up with butter, but just the right amount to make it tasty and satisfying.
Now, I’m not saying that this film is in any way, shape or form edible, but once you see those delectable recipes that Julie Powell and Julia Child cook up on screen you’ll want to eat it up. Aside from that, the film has a purely balanced selection of comedy and drama as you teeter back and forth between Julie’s life in New York as she tries to finish up the recipes within the span of a year (and blogging it up) to Julia’s new life in Paris back in her prime as she finds a new passion in the kitchen. Despite the huge gap in time when both of their ‘adventures’ take place, this film weaves them together with ease.
Meryl Streep simply put does what she always does, and that’s getting lost in her role. She completely jells in the mold of Julia Child’s persona, the semi-large woman who ends up taking the cooking world by storm with her ambition and giggly personality. Granted, it did take awhile to get used to her accent. Once you got past that, it was yet another good performance out of the seasoned actress. Honestly though, you felt bad for Amy Adams as she played the self-indulgent Julie Powell, due to all of the misfortune she endures through the majority of the film. At some points I wished that her character Giselle from Enchanted would prance in and bring a huge grin to her face. Regardless of the somewhat somber persona that her character gave off, she did well but was outshined by Streep.
The supporting cast (the first husbands, if you want to go that far) were sort of here and there. Stanley Tucci as the caring husband of Julia Child was that kind of rock in a relationship a lot of people dream of. As a matter of fact, I occasionally wondered when Paul Child was going to start turning away from being such a noble and absolutely perfect husband. Not to say that I wanted things to go wrong, but the relationship with them seemed so ridiculously perfect that this pessimist had a really hard time swallowing it. Chris Messina became kind of the anti-Paul as Eric Powell. His character was just there, barely any substance to him; the story would most likely have been fine if he had been absent through most of Julie Powell’s section. Messina does okay with what he has but, like the rest of the supporting cast just mentioned, is little more than just a fleeting thought.
Nora Ephron was able to lead us kindly through both worlds and maintain the differences in the lives of the two women. Though her style was not too uncommon, it still did the job and helped provide us with a fine film. Despite that unrealistic, ‘too perfect’ overtone that Julia’s life seemed to have, it still was somewhat refreshing to see the contrast with Julie’s struggles. And if I had to make some sort of gourmet concoction out of a hoof, you would struggle, too.
This movie, though a couple of ingredients in the recipe were a bit stale, managed to conjure up a nice, inspiring and slightly girl-power-infused film. Make sure you don’t go into the theater with an empty stomach, you’ll regret it!