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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Amy Adams
Meryl Streep.
Directors
Nora Ephron.
Screenwriters
Nora Ephron.
Running Time
123 minutes

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Julie & Julia
Cooking and blogging from Streep and Amy Adams


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Plot
The story follows a frustrated secretary who decides to cook all 524 recipes in legendary chef Julia Child's book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". In, as the book title suggests, a small New York apartment kitchen.


Review
Julie & Julia
Oh, yum! A delectable new entry in the generally gentle, genial and tantalising mini-genre of food movies — “Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven” — this scrumptious biographical comedy-drama also tells us that anyone can find herself and fulfilment with a little determination and joie de vivre. It is based on two sources: Julie Powell’s blog-to-book chronicle Julie & Julia: My Year Of Cooking Dangerously, and the richly appetising memoir, My Life In France, by the first and foremost celebrity chef on either side of the Atlantic, the inimitable Julia Child.

Around the same time that the Kennedys brought culture and couture to the White House, Child revolutionised American grub with her influential television series, becoming the Americans’ equivalent of Elizabeth David, Fanny Cradock and Delia Smith all rolled into one giant (6’ 2”), eccentric and beloved personality, an institution from the ’60s into the ’90s.

In 2002, Amy Adams’ Julie is a stressed civil servant in post-9/11 redevelopment admin, who finds a creative outlet cooking for her sweet, hotty hubby (Chris Messina) in their teeny kitchen in Queens. Determined for once to finish something she’s started, Julie sets herself the challenge of becoming a real cook by working her way through Child’s Mastering The Art Of French Cooking — over 500 recipes — in exactly one year. It’s to be a learning experience that impacts on her life beyond the kitchen. And encouraged by her husband to blog about her trials and triumphs, she finds a growing audience.

Adams is, as ever, comely and endearing, even while her half of the film is a decidedly Bridget Jones-y story of exaggerated anxieties. The more toothsome half of the film is inevitably the meatier period trip down memory lane in post-War Paree with Meryl Streep’s stupendous Julia and Stanley Tucci as her doting diplomat husband, Paul. Having met working in wartime intelligence they married and enjoyed sophisticated palates of the mature, life-embracing and well-travelled. Their shared pleasure in nosh — and her anxiousness to please in a social circle where her looks and hearty individualism did not impress — prompted Julia to enrol at the Cordon Bleu school, where a woman, and an American one at that, was an oddity barely tolerated. Her determination not only to succeed but to wow the Frenchies at their own game tests her mettle and proves her liberation. Streep is to die for, so funny, so touching, so brilliant — from her uncanny mimicry of Child’s fluting, whooping voice to the subtle but heart-piercing way she suggests Julia’s pain at being childless.

The most pleasant surprise is Nora Ephron’s direction, free of her cutesier signature touches and the running battles of the sexes. Not that there aren’t girlie bits. Julie has, of course, a gal-pal confidante (Lynn Rajskub) and a highlight of hilarity is the visit by Julia’s equally unusual sister, Dorothy (a priceless Jane Lynch). But men can stride into the stalls confident that tickled ribs and a winning love story are served up alongside the boeuf bourguignon.


Verdict
Deliciously funny and warming fare, for which the amazing Meryl deserves her ridiculously overdue third Oscar.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Julie & Julia
Empire Star Rating

Enjoyable But A Little OverLong.

Julie And Julia will make you hungry, fact. The food is tempting, I advise anyone who is going to watch it better have a full stomach. It's filmed quite beautifully, stunning pefomances from Meryl Streep and Amy Adams and is a enjoyable film. But maybe it's just me or I thought it was a little too overlong and chatty, some scenes dragged and wasn't instanly won over the characters until much later on. Apart from that, it's one to check out. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 17:13, 12 April 2010 | Report This Post


Enjoyable But A Little OverLong.

Julie And Julia will make you hungry, fact. The food is tempting, I advise anyone who is going to watch it better have a full stomach. It's filmed quite beautifully, stunning pefomances from Meryl Streep and Amy Adams and is a enjoyable film. But maybe it's just me or I thought it was a little too overlong and chatty, some scenes dragged and wasn't instanly won over the characters until much later on. Apart from that, it's one to check out. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 17:13, 12 April 2010 | Report This Post


c'était fantastique!!! meryl was funny, enchanting and unrecognisable. She really encapsulates the person she is portraying. loved every minute of this film and it actually made me want to cook, a first believe me! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tiger_lily at 23:47, 11 October 2009 | Report This Post


Enjoyable

A perfectly entertaining way to spend a couple of hours - Amy Adams is as likeable as ever and Meryl Streep doesn't put a foot wrong as the uniquely-voiced Child. It's not Oscar material really though; Meryl's great but she's not really given that much to do - a moment when she expresses upset at not having children shows how good Streep is even at the smallest moments, but it's a rare note of variation in a character (though not a performance) which is pretty one-note smiley throughout. I'd ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Davechoc at 22:24, 24 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Julie & Julia

The amazing thing about Meryl is that she can be believable is many different parts, but that doesn't make each believable performance amazing or Oscar worthy. Haven't seen this one yet, though. ... More

Posted by Jasper_29 at 14:12, 15 September 2009 | Report This Post


Fantastic! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by xmagic_dustx at 02:10, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


Awful

It was like Ready Steady Cook for two hours. What was the point in that ending as well!? C'mon, Angie! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by AboyNamedSue at 13:42, 09 September 2009 | Report This Post



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