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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Julie & Julia

Author: gingerliu from United States
15 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Julie & Julia is essentially two films about how passion and food can change peoples lives. Although in Julia Child's case, the bon vivant American cook with French sensibilities changed the lives of a whole nation used to eating convenience food in post war America and beyond. The other Julie of the title is Julie Powell. The only life she is changing is that of her own and she represents the vanity of everyday bloggers who are looking for instant fame and attention. Originally conceived as two separate movies, director-writer Nora Ephron decided that Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France and Julie Powell's blog memoir, Julie & Julia, didn't have enough meat to sustain a 90 minute feature on their own. This is a shame because Julia Child's other life in France is not only thrilling reading, but with Meryl Streep's performance as the passionate lover of life Julia Childs, the film is absolutely riveting and laugh out loud funny. Unfortunately, Julie Powell's life is hardly the stuff of legend and hardly changes lives. Comparing her contemporary life as an unfulfilled writer in NYC to Child's talent, hard work, and genuine need to teach others, is nothing short of insulting. Nora Ephron is no stranger to juxtaposing lives in her work in films such as You've Got Mail (1998) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Her trademark comic timing and direction will not disappoint Ephron fans. But my heart sank every time Ephron returns to the story of Julie Powell. Amy Adams, Streep's co-star in Doubt, fails to ignite any sympathy or even much care from audiences as her portrayal of Powell as nothing more than an under achiever who is jealous of her friends successes and embarks on a project that she at least hopes she will finish. Adams' Powell is not cooking for the greater good or writing a self-help book, she isn't even teaching herself the fine art of cuisine. But maybe this is Ephron's point all along about how blogs and the internet as a whole, validates our existence, or at least goes to prove that with as little effort as possible, a blogger's mundane life can be pitched against the life of one of the most influential people in America. How many of us rushed to write blogs on hearing of Julie Powell's book deal? How little of us want to put in the hard graft, the real work into being another Julia Child. Ephron's second and by far less interesting story of Powell makes the biggest statement of our 21st century lives. Julie Powell works as temp middle manager in a New York government office, answering calls from distraught 9/11 victims and families. The work is full time strain on her emotions. Living in Queens with her loving editor husband Eric (Chris Messina), she cooks in their tiny kitchen and uses the time as her only escape from the day. Powell is approaching thirty and is constantly aware of her unfulfilled life. Her husband suggest she start a blog about cooking and Powell, with Child's cook book in hand, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, embarks on a year long project to cook up all 524 recipes and blog about her adventure. Back in 1948, Julia Child and her husband Paul, dashingly played by Stanley Tucci, are brought to Paris because of Paul's job as a cultural attaché at the American embassy. The couple's liberal outlook and enjoyment for life and French food, give Julia a reason de'tair. Julia's hobby turns to passion after she becomes the first American to study at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. She meets fellow foodies, Simone Beck (Linda Emond) and Louisette Bertholle (Helen Carey) to co-write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There's no contest as to whose life is more appealing and Streep and Tucci's chemistry, united again after their starring roles in The Devil Wears Prada, is a joy to watch.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Excellent recipe for a waste of time

Author: Whythorne from United States
10 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, folks...if you like a couple of hours listening to sucking and gurgling sounds (and that's just the scenes of Julia Childs and Julie Powell sucking face with their husbands), then you'll love this movie. I mean, please...must we? Did the sound people put tiny microphones INSIDE the mouths of the actors? If that's not bad enough, director Ephron felt she had to include as many scenes as possible with people talking with their mouths full of food, licking fingers, etc. and with every sound effect that comes with such charming actions fully amplified, so we could appreciate every nuance of greasy, lip-smacking mastication. It sounds as if foley artists covered microphones with mashed potatoes and chicken fat and then had somebody chew on them while they recorded. Anyway, just make sure you're not eating something yourself while watching this or you may want to hurl. Funny how a movie that is intended to communicate the joy of cooking can cause such a total loss of appetite.

Point two. My guess is that Ephron felt her favorite cutesy actress, Meg Ryan, was too old for the part of Julie, so Amy Adams was cast instead. I can imagine what went on during filming...

Ephron: "OK, Cut! Amy, let's do that scene again. Only remember, you're suppose to do it exactly like Meg Ryan would have if she were playing the part!"

Amy Adams: "I thought I was playing this Julie Powell chick."

Ephron: "No, you're playing Meg Ryan being in a Nora Ephron film. Look, do you want a paycheck or not?"

Oh, and sorry Meryl. The entire time I was sitting through this my mind kept telling me, "That's Meryl Streep trying very hard to come off as Julia Childs."

So, take away the gross-you-out sound effects, the "I don't really give a damn what happens to these characters" story lines, Meg Ryan impersonation, and what do you have left? Well, for those who like bashing anything that is not liberal enough for Hollywood's taste, there's a line where Julie Powell's boss says "If I was a Republican you'd be fired." Wow, I'll bet it took Ephron days before she could came up with that perfectly hilarious and witty line to satisfy her political bitterness!

This movie is completely lacking in any compelling, interesting or charming ingredients. Yes, an excellent recipe for a waste of time.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The true lives of 1 very famous person and 1 who now is (sort of)

Author: ltlacey from United States
8 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am beginning to realize, from reading a lot of comments, that you are either going to totally love this movie, totally hate this movie, or like me, find it vaguely boring and so-so. Wait. That just about covers it all. Streep nails Child beautifully, but again, sometimes it felt over the top. And someone with her caliber should not have to be in a movie where so many technical goofs are easily seen. Show the woman some respect! Adams, though getting better at not playing ditzy roles, somehow returned to one, though it was not so bad that I had to turn the movie off. I would have wanted more of the trials and tribulations a woman from Child's era had to face, what with being a woman, and seen more than 1 mishap involving preparing all of Child's recipes by Julie. Throughout the entire movie I felt like something was missing. Maybe it was the bad script; though you could easily follow along who we were with at the time (Julia or Julie). For such a long movie I expected more. And from the talent behind the scenes I expected a lot more. We finally had a topic that had not been done in "Hollywood" and for the most part it was a disappointment.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

No Substance

Author: radomski-2 from United States
16 January 2012

As I was watching this film something bothered me. I began to suspect that it was because neither of the protagonists was appealing; here were two self-absorbed women, obsessed with their pet projects and supported by bland, indulgent husbands. Now literature is full of unappealing characters, but, in good literature, the author takes on the responsibility to deal with these characters' issues and make sense of them. That doesn't happen in Julie & Julia. We just watch the protagonists go through their motions and, I guess, we're supposed to applaud them.

In the case of Julia Child, I think this is the result of the way she was presented in the screenplay—and this was an injustice to her. In the case of Julie Powell, I think the self-absorption is real and, judging from her actual blog, actually worse in real life. She is a woman who sought to gain notoriety by staging a clever stunt. Well, she achieved her aim, but I'm left wondering: "So what?" That's not the kind of person whose life I want to spend two hours contemplating. Should we make a film about the person who came up with the idea of a "Pet Rock"?

In this film there was no character development, no depth in either the characters or the situations. I had heard of the marvels of Meryl Streep's portrayal of Julia Child. The problem was that it was all a caricature: at every moment you find yourself saying "Oh, that was clever how she captured this or that mannerism" or "Oh, she's wearing large shoes to capture Julia Child's mass." People say that the sign of a failed film score is when it draws attention to itself. I feel the same way about acting: when you find yourself noticing the cleverness of the actors rather than living the part with the character they're portraying, then I think they've failed.

I felt vindicated for my negative feelings towards this film when, in the course of it, the real Julia Child expressed disapproval of Powell's stunt.

Judith Jones, Julia Child's editor, stated: "Flinging around four-letter words when cooking, isn't attractive, to me or Julia. She didn't want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt. She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned. Julia didn't like what she called 'the flimsies.' She didn't suffer fools, if you know what I mean." (quoted at Wikipedia)

"Flimsy" is a good way to describe this screenplay: it has no substance. What an injustice to Julia Child! If she disapproved of Powell's blog, one can only imagine what she would have thought of this film.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

too much Julie, not enough Julia

Author: cadpgmr from United States
23 August 2009

I want to reiterate what Anderson said. I read the book and was so utterly disappointed that I tossed the book into the rubbish. I rarely do that and usually donate to libraries, but in this case, I didn't want to share the pain inflicted by reading it.

Nevertheless, being a fan of Julia I was compelled to see the movie. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci were outstanding. Her portrayal of Julia Child was captivating and nothing short of brilliant. Unfortunately those parts were too few. Instead the viewer gets an overload of this self-absorbed whiny bi-polar type character that annoyed me so much that I left during one of her parts. While she was on the screen it was as painful as reading the book.

It would be wonderful if they would take the same two actors (Meryl and Stanley) and make a full movie of just that.

It was so apparent that Julie was trying to use the fame of Julia Childs for her own benefit. It's not ethical, period! And she even tries to be a sad little victim after it was implied that Julia didn't endorse her. grrrrr! I don't admire anyone who uses people like that, especially passionless whiny people who seem to act like everything revolves around them.

So, seven stars go only to the portrayal of Julia and husband. and 1 star to the Julie character because it was a fun idea to do the blog on the recipe experiment. I just didn't like the lack of passion and the free ride she took on a lovely brilliant lady who gave so much to us amateur chefs.

Most anyone can be taught things, but the charm and passion come from within. Julia was one in a million!

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Deliciously light entertainment!

Author: JaysonT from Chicago, IL
7 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Biopics are hard to sit through if you're tired of seeing drug addicts, hookers and mafia types mingle their way to fame and fortune. Luckily "Julie & Julia" is light entertainment that isn't about any of these things.

Amy Adams is Julie Powell, an underachieving nobody who moves to Queens with her husband in a small apartment above a pizzeria. Every day she sits at her cubicle coping with callers who are still sick with 9-11 trauma. While her more successful girlfriends are all VPs of their companies, Powell is a minute insect who longs to be someone at the age of thirty. Can we blame her? She's impending on a mid-life crisis and is stuck with a husband whose more dull then a stack of nails.

One night she decides she does have a talent- she can throw down in the kitchen like nobody's business. And the food she prepares is yummy and good! So she decides to blog about her cooking all 500+ recipes in "The Art of French Cooking" from Julia Child, the famous renown chef and Television personality. Adams, who has found a knack for her films roles (she's Australian but sounds perfectly Midwestern) falls right into home with her whiny character.

Enter Meryl Streep, who plays Julia Child. Director Nora Ephran ("Sleepless in Seattle") has merged these two women's stories together, and as Adams' storyline unfolds, so does Streep's. The Julia Child storyline is more fun, as we embark on a journey to see how Ms. Child came to be the robust, lively and 6'2 legend that she will remain today. Streep has the gusto to play her to, though sometimes her uncanny accent goes a little over the top ("Ohhhhh yessss, I knoowwww"). Still, there's a lot to like in the performances, contrived from Streep like a Saturday Night Live sketch with more stuffing, and plenty of imminent chemistry with co-star Stanley Tucci, as her patient husband.

"Julie & Julia" is a fun time in the theater (and it makes you hungry), but what lacks from this two-character tale is tension and plot. What really happens? Julie has a few meltdowns in the kitchen and keeps dropping her boneless chicken on the floor. Julia can't pass the exams to get her cooking certificate? Where's the savage villain? Where's the subplot involving Child and her distaste of Powell later on when she found out about the blog? Now THAT would be something to boost the structure of the plot. There's never a dull moment in the movie (except maybe in the final fourth), but there certainly was room for MORE concise paranoia in which we could see the two women really tackle their issues. Another critic made a good point about the Adams character- where's her supportive gay work friend? Is her bland husband the only source she has to lean upon- and feed? Streep lost the Oscar for Best Actress last year to Kate Winslet in "The Reader". While I highly supported a win for Streep in "Doubt", there was no 'doubt' Winslet was past due for her subversive work in Daldry's masterpiece. However, is "Julie & Julia" really going to win Streep her third Oscar? She's charming as Julia Child, and nails the characterization- but there isn't a scene that truly depicts her as a woman (minus perhaps the breakdown in the kitchen, but that's nothing to hoohah about). A tasty morsel that's best described as a prominent appetizer.


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Bon Appetit!

Author: Girish Gowda from BengaLuru, Karnataka
20 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is my first Meryl Streep movie and I had lots of high expectations from her because she was nominated for more than 16 Oscars in her career. And Amy Adams is an actress I really like. So, I knew that I would like this movie even though its about food and I am a young guy who loves good food. After I watched this I have to disagree with many comments here who have told that Julie Powell's story was a distraction. It only helped us connect more to the story. This movie was concocted with oodles of love as its basic ingredient. Love, we as an audience, feel for the characters.

Based on a true story, this movie intertwines two lives; with Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession in the 1960's or 70's in Paris, along with a normal everyday woman, Julie Powell who works in a cubicle in 2002. To make her life more worthwhile, Julie challenges herself to cook from Julia Child's first cookbook which has 524 recipes in just 365 days. To make sure she doesn't back out in the middle, she starts to blog about her cooking. There are many ups and downs in her relationship with her husband. We also get a view into the life of Julia Child.

Julia Child (Meryl Streep) is loud, always a happy person, tall, huge and not your conventional beauty. Her husband Paul Child (Stanley Tucci) is quiet, handsome, bald, silent and a retiring government agent. The chemistry of Julia with her husband Paul is really wonderful and everyone, no matter their beauty quotient, would love to be like this couple. They don't have the conventional soppy, mushy romantic moments; they don't have a candlelight dinner, no slow dances. They just have this incredible chemistry that one would love to have in their life. Meryl Streep wonderfully brings Julia Child's child-like qualities to life. Julia only sees the upside to life most of the times and she is an amazing person to be friends with. Stanley Tucci is excellent as Paul Child. Their moments are so personal and genuine and beautiful that sometimes I felt like a pervert who was poking around in their life, without minding my own business. Julia Child constantly made me smile. Their story takes place in Paris which has elegant cafes, vintage cars and the very culture is romantic.

Though Nora Ephron brings such an endearing Julia Child, she takes it down a few notches in the portrayal of Julie Powell. I am in no ways telling that Amy Adams did a bad job. In fact, I think she gave some depth to whatever the real Julie Powell's character was missing. Julie is very bored of her life and wants a goal in her life so she can feel better about her life. She always wanted to be a writer, but had ended up getting a cubicle job at an helpline center. One day, while goofing around with her husband, they decide that it would be best for her to cook all the recipes in Julia Child's first cookbook. She likes the challenge and the rest of her story is about cooking those wonderful dishes and her relationship with Eric, her husband. Julie's story takes place in an everyday apartment and this only adds fuel to the viewers wishes of seeing Julia Child in elegant Paris. Amy Adams is very beautiful and I have a small crush on her. She is so cute and bright as Julie, that one can't really dislike her for portraying such a character, who is basically trying to popularise herself by writing about Julia Child. Nora Ephron doesn't engage in tough questions about Powell's experiment. Julie Powell is depicted as needing fame to feel good about herself, and the movie never interrogates that. Had it done so, the Julie segments would have been as interesting and rapturing as the Julia ones.

In any case, this film is great and should be embraced by everyone who is a fan of these actors, food and Paris. I give 5 on 5 for Julia Child segments and 3 on 5 for Julie Powell segments. And oh, I am glad I rented and saw this in home because I was feeling hungry for the most part. Make sure you have food to eat while watching this; not popcorn, pizzas and sodas, but real food.


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

No flies on Julia

Author: graham clarke (
8 November 2009

Essentially two movies rolled into one. The rise of Julia Child to cooking guru status and the quest of a young woman to cook her way through Child's famous cookbook.

The Julia Child part is as entertaining and fun to watch as you could expect from the likes of Meryl Streep in the title role; no more, no less.

As for the second story, well…… Nora Ephron must have sorely wished to conclude her movie with young Julie inviting her idol and guardian cooking angel Julia Child for dinner. Unfortunately for her, in reality the no nonsense Julia Child clearly wanted no part of this circus. Nobody could pull the wool over Julia's eyes – she was not one bit impressed by some misguided young woman cooking her way through her famous book and reporting on this daily on a blog. How right she was. Even for someone like myself with an interest in cooking, its hard to muster up interest in the spurious and somewhat hedonistic aforementioned quest.

The film wastes Streep's wonderful performance by bogging it down with the irritating and unnecessary second story. Pity. With a different concept, this could have been one terrific movie.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
27 August 2011

In 1949, the diplomat Paul Child (Stanley Tucci) and his wife Julia (Meryl Streep) are expatriated to France. In Paris, the bored Julia decides to learn how to cook and later to write a book teaching American housewives how to cook French cuisine.

In 2002, the frustrated secretary of a government agency Julie (Amy Adams) and her husband, the editor Eric Powell (Chris Messina) move to an apartment in Queens over a pizzeria. Julie is an aspirant writer and loves to cook and her husband suggests her to write a blog to spend her leisure time. Julie decides to write a blog about cooking and commits herself to cook the 534 recipes written by Julia Child in her book in 365 days.

"Julie & Julia" discloses in parallel, two true stories about two unsuccessful women in different times that have found realization in life through cooking. The annoying character performed by Meryl Streep probably had that weird way of speaking and is boring. Amy Adams is sweet as usual in the role of a copycat of the successful cooker. The result is an average film that entertains. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Julie & Julia"

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Mastering the Art of French Cooking taught me how to do just that.

Author: Tim Johnson from Fremantle, Australia
30 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mastering the Art of French Cooking holds a special place in my heart; with my first job came my first money and with that my first cookbook. The movie was absolutely correct; it is a manual on the preparation of French food and the steps allowed a total novice like me to prepare excellent quenelles, various sauces and desserts. The accuracy of the movie was amazing in that the reason Julia Child started the project was to teach Americans how to prepare French food and, at least in my case, that is exactly what she did. I do not know much about Julie but I think the script and director softened the character substantially in the movie. That has no impact whatsoever on the film that you see. I was engrossed by the story and enjoyed it thoroughly from its beginning in post-war Paris to the scenes with Julie in Queens, New York. My words are insufficient to laud Meryl Streep for the accuracy with which she portrayed Julia Child. I have DVDs of Julia's original cooking show episodes and Streep's character was as accurate as humanly possible, in my opinion. There was not a foot out of place with this film; make every effort to see it. If you don't like cooking, see it for Streep's extraordinary depiction of an American icon.

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