“Julie & Julia” (2009)

Years ago, I read Julie Powell’s blog The Julie/Julia Project, about cooking her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was good and funny, yet I think I dropped out around the time she worked on aspics. Their meaty quiver, the late hours to cook and consume them, plus the cost of ingredients all combined to make my head hurt. When Julie published her book, I thought it was great. And when the book was slated to become Julie & Julia, the movie with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, even better.

I had a great time at this movie. I laughed a lot, and went ooh over some of the shots of food. I thought that the aural analogy between kissing and eating was heavy handed, but certainly appropriate to the subject matter. Adams was engaging as always, though perhaps not quite believable as an every-girl. Streep and Stanley Tucci all but steal the movie, with their stunning performances of a true power couple in love.

A lot of the reviews gripe that the Julia Child part is so much better than the Julie Powell part that they wish it had been all Streep as Child. They argue that Powell is self-involved and just not that interesting. That’s an opinion, but I’d like to remind them:


Nor would the Julia Child renaissance that the movie, and Streep’s performance particularly, have spurred. Because it was Julie Powell who had an idea for the project to cook her way through a dusty old cookbook. Like Child before her, she brought classic French cooking to a modern American audience. So I think it’s unkind to dismiss Powell’s part in the film. Child inspired Powell, and Powell in turn inspired others to rediscover Child. Child’s teaching and inspiration are key to her legacy, so Powell’s role as disciple in real life and the film are necessary to show that. I was glad to have the two stories, and enjoyed Adams as a young woman struggling to find meaning in spite of a cubicle job and a stalled writing hobby. So go see the movie. It’s good. And if you enjoy it, be grateful to Julie Powell (still blogging, here), even if you like Julia Child more. Julie’s the reason you’re getting to know Julia, whose kitchen wisdom I’ll be thinking of for a long time:

Never apologize! (for food you’ve cooked) No excuses! No explanations!

One Response to ““Julie & Julia” (2009)”

  1. carolyn Says:

    I LOVED the Blog / but HATED the Book / didn’t even sound like the same author to me, completely different tone / and LOVED the Movie.

    And I agree: people need to stop crying and moaning. Sure, Julie Powell whines a bit. But hello she has a real job and a shitty apartment and she’s still trying to cook. Julia Child had a sweet, easy life compared to that. Her husband was a diplomat who paid the rent, and, at a certain point, she cooked all day long. Whenever and whatever she wanted.

    Julie Powell is the character who is the real “us” (or “me”) in this movie. Julia Child kept saying she was writing for “servantless American housewives”…except she was of a station and social class where she could basically BE her own servant / cook. Julie Powell had to work at a crapass horrible job all day. Her life is the one that’s more similar to mine. SO OF COURSE THERE’S WHINING. Life with a job: sucks!!

    I did love Streep/Tucci but I think everyone whining about the Powell half is a) wrong and b) just mindlessly repeating what others have said and c) totally ignoring what you so rightly point out: Julie Powell is the reason their performances even exist. People need to shut it.