Julie & Julia
Plot Summary: The story of two women: Julia Child living in Paris and finding her path through cooking and Julie Powell, a writer living in Queens who decides to blog her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in one year.
Reason for the Rating: Brief strong language and some sensuality.
524 recipes. 365 days.
Julie Powell (Amy Adams) was a young woman frustrated with a bureaucratic job when she had an idea: Why not cook her way through all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year and write about it in a blog? In Julie & Julia, we watch Julie as she learns to cook live lobsters, master beef bourguignon, and enter the suspicious world of aspics.
At the same time, we watch as Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her husband, Paul Child (Stanley Tucci), arrive in Paris and fall in love with France and French food. Julia doesn’t just want to be a bureaucrat’s wife who plays bridge all day, so she decides to go to Le Cordon Bleu and learn how to cook.
After getting her certificate from Le Cordon Bleu, Julia begins to work with two French women on a cookbook to teach American women, without the help of servants, how to cook good French food. With the support of her husband, this task occupies the next many years of her life.
Julie & Julia weaves between these two stories of women committed to their love of food. One of the most iconic and often comic women, Streep had a risky task in playing the 6’2” Julia with an unforgettable voice. Child in real life seemed at times like a caricature, but Streep plays her in such a way that you love her, rather than laugh at her…though you certainly laugh with her.
The loving relationship between Julia and Paul more than trumps the vast majority of the vapid trysts portrayed in romantic comedies these days. Their surprising love found at mid-life is one of the great highlights of the movie.
The storyline of Julie Powell’s journey is a fun entrance to the world of Julia Child, what with the murder of lobsters, and there are now thousands of writers out there (myself included) wishing they had thought of it first. But it can hardly compare with Julia herself. Though Adams is a likable and relatable protagonist, Streep as Julia really does “steal the show.”
Julie & Julia is long—just over two hours—so if you’re not into cooking or blogging it may seem ridiculously exorbitant for a movie about a blog. But for fans of Child or food, you will simply want more of it.
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie.
• What do you admire most about Julia Child, as portrayed by Streep?
• Julie made a commitment to finish something that took her attention away from her marriage. Have you ever had to deal with this—a commitment made that takes you away from an important relationship? What did you do?
Note: All movie-related graphics in this column are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective movie studios.