Yes, there is a lot of mmmmm’s, and closed eyes, faces of ecstasy, finger licking and lip smacking (and not just the eating kind, also lots of kissing)…it is cinematic food porn at it’s finest, with lots of close-up shots of simmering succulent sauces and savory concoctions. Warning: do not watch this film on an empty stomach!
The press salivated for weeks for Julie & Julia, an entertaining and endearing film about a writer in Queens, Julie Powell, who challenged herself to complete all 524 of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking recipes, in 365 days. And to keep track of her adventures she blogged about it.
524 recipes — often difficult and daunting recipes — in 365 days?!?! Are you mad, lady?!
Well, that’s what having a stressful and thankless job will do to you (she worked for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation post-9/11, fielding calls from emotionally-charged and highly concerned New Yorkers). However, she had her cooking, dammit, and it was going to save her, and guess what? She did it! And it did save her (hello book deal, and…a movie!). And all the while, stuffing bare-naked poultry, sauteing slippery mushrooms and whipping creams, she says she felt a connection to the legendary Julia Child, which the film conveys was also saved by her passion for food; it’s what drove her to attend Le Cordon Bleu, and write her first, and enormously successful cookbook, that catapulted the evolution of fine cooking into America’s kitchens. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The film, Nora Ephron’s first real worthwhile effort since Sleepless in Seattle, has a fun and romanticized storybook quality to its weaving in and out of the parallel lives of the two food purveyors, fully contrasting the grandness of Julia’s life as a diplomat’s wife in Paris with Julie’s less than glamorous life in a cluttered walk-up apartment above a pizzeria in Queens.
Meryl Streep is delightful as the boisterous and larger-than-life Julia Child and as usual, Adams, as Julie Powell, is engaging and convincing.
Julie & Julia celebrates living and loving, and indulges the philosophy that good food fixes everything…and for Julie, Julia and other foodies out there that may be true, but the film’s ideology goes deeper than that: that one shouldn’t neglect their passion and what it is that truly brings them happiness. And for that, we could all use more helpings.