Julie Powell’s ‘Julie and Julia’ transformed food writing. How to watch the movie version
Ken Turan’s review of ’Julie & Julia’
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some sensuality.
Running time: 2 hours, 3 minutes
“Julie & Julia” does it right. A consummate entertainment that echoes the rhythms and attitudes of classic Hollywood, it’s a satisfying throwback to those old-fashioned movie fantasies where impossible dreams do come true. And, in this case, it really happened. Twice.
Starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams and written and directed, in her most accomplished work to date, by Nora Ephron, this film adroitly combines two separate stories told by two different books (the characters never meet) that are linked not only by subject but also by theme.
The first is Julia Child’s “My Life in France,” a memoir by the celebrated cook, teacher and writer whose “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and accompanying “The French Chef” television show radically changed the American culinary landscape.
The second memoir, “Julie & Julia,” follows writer Julie Powell as she works her way through a self-imposed quest: cooking all 524 recipes in Child’s book, all specifically formulated for “the servantless American cook,” in the space of one 365-day year.
These two books are linked not only by Powell’s decision, or even by the authors’ shared zeal for butter, but also by a similarity in personality and situation. Both women are unstoppable forces searching for something worth their involvement, and both find that cooking completes them, makes them feel alive in ways wonderful and unforeseen. (Read more) — Kenneth Turan
Russ Parsons’ coverage of ‘Julie & Julia’
I was the first writer for a major newspaper to write about the “Julie/Julia” blog. (I know, never mind what the movie says: Check the publication dates and you’ll see that my story ran almost a full month before the Christian Science Monitor’s; and don’t even get me started on my good friend former New York Times food writer Amanda Hesser nabbing an actual appearance in the film, skinny little witch.)
When Julia had moved to her retirement home in Montecito, I had taken advantage of her proximity to deepen what up to that time had been a cordial professional friendship. Whenever I traveled north, I would make a point to see her, bring her lunch, take her to dinner, even just stop for a drink and a chat. I was so lucky.
When I found “The Julie/Julia Project” online, I was fascinated by it. It seemed to me that finally here was a cooking blog that was succeeding on its own literary terms. Rather than mimicking mainstream media, Powell was taking what works best about blogs — the intimate feeling of sharing someone’s innermost thoughts in something approaching real time — and using it to write about cooking. (Read more) — Russ Parsons
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