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August 14, 2009

"Julie and Julia" A Tasty Review

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Julie and julia If you're a movie fan you've probably heard about the film "Julie and Julia" as the latest star turn from Meryl Streep.  A summer confection whipped up by director Nora Ephron. 

But if you're a blogger, you probably know that the movie is the culmination of a blog started in 2002 by Julie Powell that turned into an internet phenomena, a book and now a film.

Several years ago, New Yorker Julie Powell found herself at loose ends in an unfulfilling job and a stagnating writing career.  So she found solace in cooking.  At her husband's suggestion she started a blog about her attempt to cook all the recipes in Julia Child's "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking" in a year.

That story, combined with the experiences of Julia Child as the only female cooking student at Le Cordon Bleu in 1940's Paris, chronicled in the book, "My Life in France," is the basis of the movie "Julie and Julia." 

With remarkable skill, Nora Ephron mixes the two stories from two different time periods into a delightful blend of humor, love and a passion for the culinary arts.  One of the many things Julie Powell and Julia Child had in common was finding the courage to stretch themselves and both ending up in places they least expected. 

Amy Adams easily slips into the role of Julie, a Meg Ryan-esque style heroine.  Streep is marvelous as always, performing with abandon the over the top, high pitched, garbled vocal stylings and mannerisms of the Julia Child that we all know so well.  "We're going to boooone the duck by cutting through the breast and lifting the skin."

Streep is a highly skilled actress who's proven she can disappear into almost any role, but this wasn't one of them.  Her performance works however because this isn't a serious drama and deep down we overlook what sometimes appears to be Meryl Streep at a costume ball playing Julia Child. 

And can I just tell you how hot I found Stanley Tucci in this movie? Yeah, you heard me...hot!  He plays Julia's adoring husband who can barely keep his hands off her and revels in every one of her hard won accomplishments. 

Others in the cast:  "24's' Mary Lynn Rajskub plays Julie's friend Sarah and Julie's husband is played by Chris Messina.

Julie Powell's current blog tells about her recent success.  If you wonder what in the movie is and isn't true, she gives you some answers.

My fellow BlogHer CE, Kalyn Denny of the blog Kalyn's Kitchen wrote an excellent post about "Julie and Julia" from a food blogger's perspective.  She felt in the movie, the real Julie wasn't given enough credit for her accomplishment.

Whether we like her or not, not many cooks or bloggers could have done what she did in that tiny New York kitchen, and her ability to build a community of people who followed along on her blog certainly helps the world at large to understand the appeal of food blogging. And even if none of that was enough, Julie helped to bring Julia Child's life to the big screen, something that every lover of fine cooking can be happy about.

Does the movie pass my, is it worth ten dollars test?  Absolutely.

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