Julie & Julia (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/09/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 123 mins

Engaging, beautifully shot drama with strong performances by its two leads, but it struggles to gel the two stories together and wears out its welcome before the end.

What's it all about?
Directed by Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia is based on the true stories of US cooking guru Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and New York claims assistant-turned-blogger Julie Powell (Amy Adams). The film cuts back and forth between the two parallel stories: in 1949, bored diplomat's wife Julia Child completes the cookery course at Le Cordon Bleu and teams up with two chefs (Linda Emond and Helen Carey) to write what will become a best-selling 1961 French cookbook for the American market (Mastering the Art of French Cooking), while in 2002 New York, 9/11 claims assistant Julie Powell decides to cook her way through all 524 of Julia Child's recipes, writing a daily blog as she goes along.

The Good
Amy Adams is superb as Julie Powell, in a performance that's subtly different from the adorable characters she usually plays; she also has strong, believable chemistry with Chris Messina (as her husband) and there's amusing support from Mary Lynn Rajskub as her best friend. By contrast, Streep's performance seems like an extended comedy sketch (this is only heightened by the inclusion of Dan Aykroyd's Julia Child impression from Saturday Night Live), but she's frequently very funny and her relationship with Stanley Tucci (as her diplomat husband) is genuinely touching.

In addition, the shots of the food are mouth-wateringly good, to the point where you'll be desperately hungry afterwards, so stock up on snacks beforehand.

The Bad
The main problem is that, a few visual and thematic links aside, the two stories don't fit together all that well; in particular, the expected final emotional crossover between the stories never comes, leaving the audience oddly unsatisfied (you almost wish they'd fictionalised it for the sake of a decent emotional punch). Similarly, the film is at least 20 minutes too long and wears out its welcome before the end.

Worth seeing?
Julie & Julia is an engaging drama that's worth seeing for the performances, but the endings of both stories are oddly unsatisfying and it never really comes together as a single film.

Film Trailer

Julie & Julia (12A)
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Content updated: 24/10/2017 01:21

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