Review: Julie & Julia

Plot: A young woman, Julie (Amy Adams), struggling to find her purpose in life is inspired by the life, and work of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) – whose own struggle to be taken seriously as an American chef in France, is intertwined with Julie’s story.

Review: JULIE & JULIA is two movies in one, and—unfortunately, only one of them is really good. The half involving Meryl Streep as Julia Child is absolutely fantastic, with Streep perfectly embodying the role. She does a great job with Child’s voice, and mannerisms, but at the same time doesn’t come off as a caricature. In less capable hands, this could have come off as a feature length version of Dan Aykroyd’s classic SNL sketch (which gets a big shout out here), but Streep is absolutely marvelous throughout. I’ve always thought of Streep as the female Robert DeNiro, and her work here doesn’t disappoint. It also helps that she’s working with writer/director Nora Ephron, who also wrote one of Streep’s best films- SILKWOOD. While Ephron’s films as a director have always been a bit too bland for my tastes, she does a good job at the helm here- and more than makes up for her last film, the infamous big screen version of BEWITCHED.

However, Ephron is less successful with the Amy Adams section of the film. Now, let’s get one thing straight: I LOOOOOOOOOOVE Amy Adams. She’s one of my favorite actresses, and I’d watch her in anything. My problem with her half of the film has nothing to do with her performance- which is great. It’s just that the subject matter is simply not that compelling to begin with, so imagine how it looks compared to the Julia Child story. In the Streep half of the film, we get a beautiful re-creation of 1950’s Paris, a wonderful love story between Child, and her devoted spouse, Paul- perfectly played by Stanley Tucci, who’s got terrific chemistry with his co-star, and even some political intrigue, relating to the McCarthy hearings. In the Adams/ Julie section, we get her writing a blog, and fighting with her husband- that’s it. Not much of a competition here folks. Adams does her best, but as these sequences drag on, you’ll no doubt be anxious for the Child section to kick in again.

I suppose whoever green lit this film didn’t think the public would buy a two hour Julia Child biopic with Streep- but then again, they bought her singing Abba in MAMMA MIA!, so maybe they should have reconsidered.

Still, one half of a great movie is better than nothing, and I’m still giving JULIE & JULIA a wholehearted recommendation. It’s absolutely worth seeing, and it’s a nice alternative in a summer that’s been pretty action and comedy heavy. It’s also a great date flick- although I recommend having a big meal before watching it, as the lovingly photographed meals JULIE & JULIA prepare with have you drooling, and counting the seconds until you can leave the theatre and devour the first edible thing you set your eyes on (which in my case was a big basket of onion rings- although I imagine Child would not approve).

Grade: 7.5 /10

Review: Julie & Julia




About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.