Julie & Julia
Cast: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams
Direction: Nora Ephron
Rating: ***& 1/2
Over the years, several films — Babette’s Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman, Chocolat --- have explored the restorative power of food. Even though it isn’t as flavourful as those gourmet treats, Julie & Julia has what it takes to make a palatable meal.
Adapting not just one but two real-life stories, writer-director Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle) skillfully juggles the dual plotlines revolving around two women from different generations.
In the first, Julia Child (Streep), a middle-aged housewife indulges her culinary passion in late-1940s Paris. Against daunting odds, she masters the art of French cuisine. Besides publishing a landmark cookbook, the celebrity chef even hosted a long-running TV show.
Julia’s story alternates with the experiences of Julie Powell (Adams) in Manhattan during the early 2000s. Bored with her job, the young civil servant establishes a daily blog documenting her preparation of all the 500-plus recipes in Julia’s cookbook.
There are interesting parallels in the lives of the two women. United by their love of cooking, both Julia and Julie are blessed with doting husbands (Stanley Tucci-Chris Messina) who encourage them wholeheartedly. Also, both women are childless and strive to seek fulfillment in the culinary arts. Ephron sprinkles their journeys with a couple of giggle-worthy interludes such as the unexpected visit by Julia’s sister (Jane Lynch, marvelous in a minuscule role)
In a much more substantial part, Amy Adams is endearing. Of course, the main course of this foodie flick is Meryl Streep. Her pitch-perfect impersonation of Julia Child consolidates her reputation as the pre-eminent actress of our time. Incidentally, she and Ms Adams had previously appeared together in Doubt (2008).
All seen and salivated, Julie & Julia yields a few appetising courses. Indulge.