Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.35%
Worth A Look58.7%
Just Average: 36.96%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

5 reviews, 16 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Aladdin (2019) by Jay Seaver

All Is True by Jay Seaver

Fugue by Jay Seaver

Aniara by Jay Seaver

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum by Jay Seaver

Long Day's Journey Into Night (2018) by Jay Seaver

Shadow by Jay Seaver

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché by Jay Seaver

Hustle, The by Peter Sobczynski

Detective Pikachu by Peter Sobczynski

subscribe to this feed

Julie & Julia
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Mel Valentin

"See it, if you see it at all, for Meryl Streep's performance."
3 stars

Nora Ephron’s ("Bewitched," "You’ve Got Mail," "Michael," "Sleepless in Seattle") latest film, "Julie & Julia," is an object lesson that not every book, fiction or, or in this case, non-fiction, should be become the basis for a two-hour theatrical film (a Lifetime movie, maybe). Adapted primarily from Julie Powell’s bestselling book, with an assist from Julie Child’s memoir, "My Life in France," written with her grand-nephew, Alexander Prud'homme, "Julie & Julia" may be, as someone, somewhere has or will describe it, an “unapologetic chick flick,” but that also means it has a limited appeal to a narrow demographic that ultimately wastes the talents of its co-leads, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

Julie & Julia starts off in 1949 as Julia Child (Streep) and her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci), settle in Paris, France. A diplomat, Paul works in the U.S. Embassy as a cultural attaché. Bored in her role as a housewife and occasional hostess, Julia tries several different activities until she settles on cooking, French cooking to be exact. A natural in the kitchen, Julia learns to cook elaborate dishes, but it’s the fortuitous meeting with Simone Beck (Linda Emond) and Louisette Bertholle (Helen Carey), two Frenchwomen who share Julia’s passion for cooking. They also want to write a French cookbook for American audiences and decide to enlist Julia’s involvement. The strong-willed Julia eventually takes over the project, a project that leads, after years of struggle, to the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961 and eventually a career as a television personality.

In 2002, Julie Powell (Amy Adams), an employee (and cubicle drone) with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., lives a life of quiet desperation. As her 30th birthday approaches, Julie’s accomplishments or, more accurately, lack thereof, lead her down an unlikely path. After a spontaneous conversation with her husband, Eric (Chris Messina), Julie decides to start a Salon.com blog (yes, Salon.com gets generous production placement here). Her blog will detail her efforts to cook the 524 recipes Child’s mammoth tome, all in exactly one year. Over the course of a year, Julie juggles work, cooking practically every night, and a strained marriage (thanks, or rather no thanks, to her self-absorbed, obsessive behavior), but her readership grows and she begins to receive media attention, culminating in the book deal that led to the film we’ve just spent two hours watching (even the end credits admit as much).

While Julie walks away with a book and movie deal, we’re left holding an empty shopping bag. Sure, the results of Julie and Julia’s cooking will leave epicureans salivating, but anyone looking for narrative nourishment will be left, if not famished by Julie’s calorie-free, drama-free story, then eager to find a more fulfilling moviegoing experience. Julie’s decision to cook everything in Julia Child’s cookbook comes off, at best, an exercise in self-indulgence (especially given the post-9-11 time period) with minimal emotional or dramatic stakes, and, at worst, a shallow stunt unworthy of the screen time Ephron gives Julie’s “story.”. If Julie’s modest misadventures in cooking are bearable, it’s due to Amy Adams, once again essaying an optimistic, can-do heroine.

Of course, that’s only one-half of "Julie & Julia." The other half’s focus on Julia Child’s progression from a diplomat’s wife to an internationally cookbook author makes for a more involving drama, in part because of the period and setting (roughly 1950s France), the intrusion of the Communist witch hunts orchestrated by Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin that ultimately ensnares Paul, the loving, affectionate relationship between Julia and Paul as the power dynamic in their relationship shifts from Paul to Julia, and, of course, Meryl Streep’s performance. Streep captures Child’s singsong voice and her mannerisms. At least initially, Streep’s performance borders on caricature, but Streep’s talent for nuance adds layers and shadings to Julia Child, elevating Child from caricature to character. It’s a feat few actresses can accomplish, but luckily for Ephron (and us), Streep can.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18074&reviewer=402
originally posted: 08/07/09 07:00:00
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Traverse City Film Festival 2009 For more in the Traverse City Film Festival 2009 series, click here.

User Comments

4/17/18 Suzanne Meryl Streep IS Julia Child. She and Tucci are delightful. 4 stars
4/13/16 Katrina Weiss Possibly not as interesting if you don't enjoy cooking. 3 stars
9/08/11 Nancy Meryl Streep did a great job playing Julia Child. Loved the movie 5 stars
7/21/11 Annie G Much better than I expected. My husband liked it too 4 stars
2/27/11 RLan Watch and see how Meryl Streep channels Julia Child. 4 stars
8/03/10 the dork knight cooking: SERIOUS BUSINESS 3 stars
3/02/10 Richard Brandt Like a great meal, this movie can bring tears to your eyes 4 stars
1/21/10 Ruby P. I really liked this film. Meryl Streep did a good job. Funny and inspiring! 5 stars
1/10/10 KingNeutron The girlfriend and I both liked it. A charming movie. 4 stars
12/13/09 Micah The Julie half wasn't as self centered as What Happens in Vegas or Ugly Truth. 3 stars
12/03/09 Ashley This was a cute little film. Meryl and Amy were both fantastic in their roles. 4 stars
9/07/09 Marie M. An ingredient in the recipe of this movie is lacking. 4 stars
8/26/09 R. G. Ranade What everyone has said: Meryl Streep's great, Amy Adams isn't. 3 stars
8/17/09 R.W. Welch Better than you might think. Strong leads. 4 stars
8/15/09 Carole L. Glickfeld When a film is this entertaining, its flaws don't matter. 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  07-Aug-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 08-Dec-2009


  DVD: 08-Dec-2009

Directed by
  Nora Ephron

Written by
  Nora Ephron

  Meryl Streep
  Amy Adams
  Stanley Tucci
  Chris Messina
  Jane Lynch
  Dave Annable
  Mary Lynn Rajskub

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast