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First Cut: Streep's 'Julie & Julia' is fun

First Cut: Streep's 'Julie & Julia' is fun

Watching two strong women drive a story is a great experience

Director: Nora Ephron

Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Messina

The film:

The first thing that immediately draws your attention is the colour scheme and a smiling Meryl Streep saying Bon Appetit in front of a bistro in 1940's France. The skillfully used tones evoke a feeling of warmth and happiness.

Directed by Nora Ephron, the comedy Julie & Julia is an adaptation of two best-selling books, one by a famous American cook and the other a blogger with a book deal.

Julia (Meryl Streep), wife of Paul Child (Stanley Tucci), an US Diplomat, is loved by all. Julie (Amy Adams), on the other hand, is a timid woman, who with the help of a famous chef she's never met, blossoms into a determined, self-reliant woman.

Julie & Julia intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both confused at some level...until they discover that with the right combination of passion, determination and butter (yes, you read it right), they can make everything right.

It dwells on relationships, writing and most interesting of all, the art of cooking. And it’s not just any kind of cooking, but taking on 524 recipes from Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days.

Meryl Streep and Amy Adams come together once again after the harder-hitting drama, Doubt.


Julie & Julia seems to have been tailor-made for Meryl Streep and the singular strength in Julie & Julia rests with the performances. Streep is at her brilliant, beguiling best. She's the real 'mistress of spices' (pun intended) who knows exactly how to toss up a lip-smacking platter.

Streep and Adams never share a moment on screen, but yet they connect at some level.

The men in the film look happy playing second fiddles, having smaller roles and less screen-time, but their performances are praiseworthy. Messina as a supportive husband with no story of his own pulls it off perfectly. While Tucci is probably a character one would remember for a very long time. Like Julia, any woman would fall in love with him.

Memorable scenes

The film has some touching moments too. The way Julie struggles with Julia's recipes, striving to reproduce the stuffed duck, bouillabaisse, and beef bourguignon without immediate success, is amazing.

The portions where it focuses on Julia Child and her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) in Paris (in late 40s and 50s) are warm and colourful. Also when Paul is seen being investigated for having communist ties and quizzed if he was gay pulls on your heartstrings.

Things that tend to take away the charm:

If one compares the two, Julia Child's storyline is more fun to watch than Julie Powell's, primarily because of the brilliant Streep-Tucci combo. Meryl Streep may not look much like Julia Child in real life, but she throws herself into the role wholeheartedly, even re-creating the famous TV show.

The film's length doesn't help either with little over two hours. It could have done well with tighter editing, knocking off a good 15 minutes from the Julia Powell story.

What suddenly sparked the conflict between Julie and her husband seems synthetic, and the setting of the last meal from the book – on a rooftop came a little out of nowhere.

Julia Child's story seems to end on a satisfactory note, but Powell's ending fails to impress.


What makes the film 'different' is the fact that the women in it are not in desperate pursuit of men. Marriage certainly plays an important role in their lives, but watching two strong women drive a story is a great experience.

I'd give 2.5 for the film and 1 for Streep and Tucci's awesome chemistry.

RATING: 3.5 / 5

first published:March 27, 2010, 17:39 IST