Nora Ephron wrote and directed an empowering film for women and it is all about food. The story focuses on world-renowned and beloved chef Julia Childs and Julie Powell, an unhappy cubicle-dwelling secretary facing thirty. Both women are at moments of self-discovery in their lives. Julie and Julia is about getting past obstacles, your fears, and reaching your goals. In the hands of veteran filmmaker Ephron, the film follows the two women, separated by a half-century, through challenges and triumphs.
In 1949, we find Julia Childs in Paris where her husband works for the U.S. government. She decides to enroll at the Cordon Bleu where she faces immense sexism and criticism amongst the men. One day, Julia’s husband arrives home and Julia is chopping a massive pile of onions for practice.
“Julia, you’re being a bit over competitive aren’t you?” he says.
In 2002, Julie Powell works as a secretary in Manhattan and lives in Queens. She’s facing thirty and feels that she has not accomplished the goals she had hoped she would be this age. Julie wants to be a writer. She tells her husband: “You’re not a writer unless someone publishes you.” She decides to write a blog about cooking her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in one year.
As Julie remarks: both she and Julia worked as secretaries; both married sweet men; and both women were “saved” by food. One major difference is that it took eight years for Julia Childs to write her first cookbook and Julie wrote her blog and received a book deal after one year. Julie also learns that 90 year-old Julia Childs does not like her blog. Julia’s book editor Judith Jones said: “Flinging around four-letter words when cooking isn’t attractive, to me or Julia. She didn’t want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt…She didn’t suffer fools, if you know what I mean.”
As Julia, Streep lights up the screen with her mischievous smile, snappy comments and elegant style. Tucci brings a calming presence to the irrepressible Julia. Adams trades perkiness for determination and edge. As anyone who has cooked or baked knows, it is all about trial and error. You get better at anything with practice which is what we see with Julie and Julia. The film is fast-paced and upbeat. Ephron makes Julie and Julia entertaining without being silly, touching without being sappy, and just an overall charming, delightful film.
STEELE SAYS: SEE IT IN THE THEATRE