Julie & Julia (2009), directed by Nora Ephron, is based on the true stories of two women and the inspiration and journey that they undertake through the art of French cuisine. Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a soon-to-be thirty year old lost in her life who soon finds a guidebook in a cookbook. Said cookbook is written by the one and only Julia Child (Meryl Streep). This film is a back and forth response of the bumpy ride they set forth on, from burnt stew to editing books, it has it all.
This film is primarily a biography but with a heaping serving of comedy with a few dashes of drama. Let’s face it, it’s not a movie about cooking without someone having a minor breakdown over cooking something incorrectly. Yet the film balances all the laughs with serious moments such as dealing with family, loss, and the constant movement towards a goal.
There are two main morals that this story touches on. First, you should value yourself and your endeavors, you will never get to a goal if you do not push yourself. Second, sometimes your role models will let you down, that’s ok, they’re only human but you shouldn’t let that crumble you. You are your own person.
The director seamlessly connected the stories of both women throughout the movie and the editing was quite lovely. Conversations linked their lives together, a lamp turned off by Julia could turn into a light switched on by Julie. There are particular scenes that are mimicked by Julie on purpose. One of these is Valentine dinner party she hosts, which, because it happened several years after Julia’s Valentine party, had a very meta feel to it. It reminds viewers that although the lives of the two are linked, the timelines are different which only adds to the charm of the movie.
This movie for the most part made me laugh, but there are moments when I felt morose. These melancholy feelings are mostly brought on by the main conflict in the story: man vs self. Both Julie and Julia have their own problems. They have issues with work to the lack thereof, and marital problems, and they both meet roadblocks that they have to take a shovel through, or maybe even a bulldozer. Both Amy Adams and Meryl Streep make themselves relatable in their parts. Meryl Streep in particular makes her viewers feel deeply empathetic towards her as she subtly displays her character’s main strife.
This film is amazing, however, it appeals to a certain audience. I don’t think little kids would be milling around this movie but it you enjoy cooking or just a well written movie without explosions, this is the movie for you. The strongest points in this film are when the characters are actively working towards a goal and not taking no for an answer. The weak points are very few but are mostly seen in Julie’s timeline. These however can’t be helped. When the character feels like giving up or behaving a bit like a petulant child it makes the audience want to act the same and call it quits but worry not! These moments are seen only twice and together they make up about 7 minutes.
Overall, this movie reminded me that I needed to make the best out of situations and treat myself well. It absolutely helps that Meryl Streep was in it, let’s be honest, she is a truly gifted actress. Her accent was amazing yet I have no idea how she came to study the accent of a posh Texan as they tackled the French language—it’s mind blowing. She is so convincing in her role as Julia Child that after watching this movie, when I watched a video of he real Julia Child, I felt it was off because Meryl Streep wasn’t the one being filmed. How crazy is that?
I have to give this movie 7/10 strawberries, just for the acting alone. Have I mentioned I love Meryl Streep? I love her, she is fantastic in this film. This is definitely a movie that needs to be watched at least twice. Not because it’s over-complicated, but because it’s a good reminder of personal growth. You need to watch it once to ensure you introduce yourself to the message, and a second time to check your progress.