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Julie & Julia
Directed by Nora Ephron (2009)
Howard Schumann (howard16)     Print Article 
Published 2009-12-14 10:27 (KST)   
Howard Schumann rates 'Julia & Julia' an A-.  <Editor's Note>
Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia is a film about the empowerment of women who grow in strength not in spite of their husbands but because of their loving support, a rare break from Hollywood's obsession with dysfunctional families. Meryl Streep, an icon in her own right, portrays the celebrated author and TV personality Julia Childs, whose book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" was one of the most influential books of the last century. To say that Streep brings verve to the role is a vast understatement.

She is Julia with her bubbly, over-the-top magnetism that makes everyone in contact with her feel energized. Based on Julia Child's memoir, "My Life in France", the film follows Julia's growth in Paris in the 1950s as she moves from being simply the wife of U.S. Embassy cultural attache Paul Child (Stanley Tucci), to the development of her lifelong passion - an interest in cooking and writing. Julia enrolls in the Cordon Bleu cooking school where she is faced with an unpleasant owner, Madame Bressart (Joan Juliet Buck) and competition with professional men. Soon, she is slicing onions with the best of them. From there, the process leads her to meeting with Simone Beck (Linda Emond) and the development of a project to teach Americans how to cook with a French accent. The rest, as they say, is history.

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A parallel thread in the film is the story of Julie Powell (Amy Adams), a young woman who lives in a small apartment with her husband Eric (Chris Messina) in Queens above a Pizza shop and who struggles with her day job, working for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation fielding phone calls from residents disturbed over issues related to 9/11. To reinvigorate a life that had become stagnant she embarks on a year-long project to prepare all 524 of Julia's recipes. Soon she will be recording her experiences murdering lobsters in a blog that will eventually turn into a best-selling book "Julie & Julia,"

Though not the dominant presence of Streep, Adams creates a character that engages our interest and whose progress we follow closely. Though Julie and Julia never meet, they are inextricably linked by their love of food and the similarity of the circumstances of their lives, writers who are seeking a deeper connection to life, something that makes them feel truly alive. Supported by loving husbands played by Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina, the only conflict in the film is an argument between Julie and her husband about her growing obsession to the detriment of other marital endeavors.

However, this does not last long, given the supportive nature of their relationship. Instead, Julie is able to maintain her enthusiasm thanks to her love of cooking and the inspiration of the Julia Child in her head. "Julie & Julia" is, as one viewer put it, "a celebration of life, culture, people, food and the wonder of an incredible love relationship between two people", a rare effort from a mainstream media that is obsessed with the culture of conflict and the false duality of good versus evil. "Julie & Julia" is about the simple joys of being alive and expressing it with passion, a recipe worth devoting 365 days a year to trying.
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Howard Schumann

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