Saturday, August 08, 2009

Julie & Julia

Based on the book by Julie Powell, this new film juxtaposes two stories about the art of cooking. The film alternates between 1949 Paris featuring a wonderful Meryl Streep as Julia Child and 2002 Queens, New York featuring an always reliable Amy Adams as Julie Powell.

Julia Child's story in 1949 is very much the stronger of the two. With Stanley Tucci playing Paul Child to Ms. Streep's Julia, they recreate the years when Ms. Child learned the art of French cooking that led to her world wide fame. Ms. Streep and Mr. Tucci are terrific together and we get to see a very human side of a woman many of us only remember as a TV chef and author.

In 2002, we watch as Ms. Powell decides to recreate every recipe in Ms. Child's book over the course of a year. Amy Adams is always fun to watch even when her character becomes whiny and annoying. Many critics didn't find these sequences well done but it's a rare actress that can still make annoying tolerable.

The film is light as a soufflé and fun to watch as Ms. Child goes to cooking school and Ms. Powell has meltdowns cooking every recipe. I would have enjoyed watching an entire film just about Julia Child and sometimes found it intrusive bouncing back and forth but the modern story holds together on the strength of the captivating Ms. Adams and ultimately the two stories work their culinary magic.

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