Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
|Featuring:||Meryl Streep (Julia Child), Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Jane Lynch, Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O'Brian on “24” TV series), Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Joan Juliet Buck, Crystal Noelle, George Bartenieff, Vanessa Ferlito, Casey Wilson, Jillian Bach, Andrew Garman, Michael Brian Dunn, Remak Ramsay, Diane Kagan, Pamela Holden Stewart, Jeff Brooks, Frances Sternhagen, Brooks Ashmanskas, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Brian Avers, Kacie Sheik, Megan Byrne, Deborah Rush, Helen Coxe, Amanda Hesser, Maryann Urbano, Simon Jutras, Felicity Jones, Meg Kettell, Stephen Bogardus, Byron Jennings, Kelly AuCoin, Richard Bekins, Luc Palun, Rémy Roubakha, Marceline Hugot, Erin Dilly, Robert Emmet Lunney, Guiesseppe Jones, Jeff Talbott, Johnny Sparks, Simon Feil, Paul Borghese, Mark Gindick, D.L. Shroder, Darin De Paul, Tom Galantich, Allyn Burrows, Natalie Cenovia Cummins, Maxim Moston, Shmuel Katz, Paul Ognissanti, Eric G. Halvorson, Julia Prud'homme, Dimitri Radochevitch, Emmanuel Suarez, Christelle Cornil, Françoise Lebrun, Teddy Bergman, Jean-Pierre Becker, Mark Wilkins, Jamie Hall, Francesco David, Denise M. Whalen, Luis Villabon, Valentine Aprile, Alexander Brady, Roy William Gardner, Dianne Dreyer, Evalyn B. Taucher, Mary Kay Place, Catherine Haena Kim|
“Sleepless in Seattle,” “You've Got Mail,” “Bewitched”
|Producer:||Easy There Tiger Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, John Bernard, Dianne Dreyer, Nora Ephron, Donald J. Lee Jr., Laurence Mark, Amy Robinson, Scott Rudin, J.J. Sacha, Eric Steel, Dana Stevens|
“Based on two true stories.”
While the film isn’t stellar, it did help cement one already known fact: Meryl Streep is a classic. Responsible for the film’s charm, Streep delivers a delightful performance as Julia Child, the chef whose “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” revolutionized American cooking. The film also tells the simultaneous true story of Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who, depressed with her dead-end life, decides to embark on a year-long challenge to cook through all 524 recipes of Child’s cookbook while blogging daily of her progress.
Julia Child’s story begins in postwar France in 1949. After she’s introduced to the delicious cuisine of the French culture, she becomes enamored with its exquisiteness. She enrolls into a cooking school and eventually joins forces with two other women to create an American cookbook on French cuisine. For eight years, the women gruel over the recipes’ precisions and finding a publisher. Julie Powell’s story begins in Queens 2002; the majority of her story is her becoming a slave to her kitchen and even jeopardizing her marriage all for the sake of her blog and feelings of self-worth.
The film combined two memoirs: “My Life in France” and “Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.” I wish the film would have been based entirely on Julia Child. It appears as if director Nora Ephron (“Sleepless in Seattle”) leaned more toward this idea. Being that Child’s film portion had more plot substance, better character development, and ultimately more charm. We could still see her love for her husband (a charming Stanley Tucci), her passion for cooking, and her relentless determination to complete her cookbook.
On the other hand, Julie Powell’s story was quite lackluster, filled with prosaic cooking scenes and meltdowns. While Amy Adams is a splendid actress, she did not have much to work with. Julie is portrayed as a selfish, cloy woman who likes to wallow in her self-created pity. When the time finally comes where her husband gets fed up and leaves, the movie sadly doesn’t delve into this deeply enough, but quickly resolves it and moves along. Perhaps a closer look into their marriage would have strengthened her portion of the story.
Julia Child becomes Julie’s obsession. She repeatedly mentions that Child is who saved her and is all that she has. Even when her marriage is suffering, the thought of quitting her goal is never an option. She was placing all her potential happiness, energy, and effort in such a perishable goal. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
“Julie & Julia” could have been a completely acceptable film were it not for the profanity. There’s 1 use of the ‘f’ word and about 16 other milder profanities throughout the film; the Lord’s name was profaned about 3 times. Worth mentioning is that there’s kissing between the married couples and one shot of Adams’ back while she’s in a bra.
I do not personally recommend the film. While there are some very funny and charming moments, the rather thin plot was overly extended, resulting in a very long viewing. My advice is to wait for the DVD release.
Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor
I normally do not comment on my reviews after their publication, but due to a recent comment felt I should. One commentator left a rather harsh comment, questioning my qualifications to review a movie of this kind since I mentioned little of the food or Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Julia Child. If one reads the review, he would see that I actually do praise Streep’s acting ability and the true story of the legendary Julia Child.
Most importantly, one should remember that Christian Spotlight is actually an amazing nonprofit ministry that assists Christians in making wise choices of their movie viewings. The commentator is correct, I am not a film critic nor even a food expert. In actuality, I’m a middle-school teacher who is a follower of Christ. I volunteer to review these movies to help other Christians be informed of a movie’s content.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Some have done this respectfully and even listed an offensive comment Child made while cooking that I forgot to mention. Despite disagreements, Christians should remember when Paul wrote to “let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt…”
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.