Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Julie amp Julia
Julie & Julia is based on the book by Julie Powell, a frustrated New York bureaucrat who wants to be a writer. "But youre not a writer until someone publishes you," she moans. So she gives herself a challenge: to cook her way through Julia Childs Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, and to blog about it. As Powell (played with chirpy determination by Amy Adams), begins to find her groove as a cook, and her voice as a writer, the project takes on a life of its own--and in the end it does provide the struggling young woman with her lifes purpose, to her very pleasant surprise. But mostly, Julie & Julia is a valentine to Child, to Childs amazing love affair with her dashing husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci, as divine as any soufflé in the film), and to her outlook on embracing life, and ordering seconds. Streep throws herself into the Child role with real affection for her character, and while certain of Childs idiosyncrasies--including her warbly voice and unflappable haphazardness in the kitchen--are retained, its Childs character and vision which form Streeps portrayal, and which make the film so involving and rewarding.
Nora Ephron directs with deftness and a light touch, though she seems at times to be encouraging some of Meg Ryans onscreen tics in Adams (the self-conscious head tilt, for one). But mostly she simply allows Streep to channel Child and her love of food, her husband, and 1950s Paris. And that is a recipe for something truly sublime. --A.T. Hurley
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