Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Julie & Julia: Better than the book!

[Columbia Pictures]

I recently read the novel Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. I think this may be the first (and last) time I'll say this, but the movie was actually better than the book. This delightful film, directed by Nora Ephron, intertwines the lives of NYC temp Julie Powell (Amy Adams) and famous self-made chef Julia Child (Meryl Streep).

Streep is fantastic in this film, of course. She nailed Julia's voice and mannerisms to a tee. It doesn't hurt that Julia was apparently so adorable either. The relationship between her and her husband, Paul Child (Stanley Tucci), is so sweet. As a newlywed middle-aged couple, they've moved to Paris for Paul's government job. Not having much to do, Julia decides to learn how to cook French food.

Meanwhile in 2002, Julie Powell's life seems to be unraveling. She has condescending friends and is yelled at on the phone by customers daily. One thing she has going for her is a handsome, loving husband, Eric (Chris Messina). In a spur of the moment decision, Julie decides to start a blog about her adventures in cooking the 500+ recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook (OMG, how are the French so thin after eating this stuff?).

Julia has started to work on a French cookbook for Americans with her new friends Simone Beck (Linda Edmond) and Louisette Bertholle (Helen Carey). Julie's blog gains a lot of followers, and she continues to cook recipes for her husband and friends every night and gradually turn her life around. She gets book offers after an article on her runs in the New York Times.

In the end, Julie and Eric visit Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian in D.C. I was happy that they chose not to have Julia die at the end like Powell does in her novel. When I left the theater, my mom and I couldn't help but to repeat "bon appetit" and "boeuf bourguignon" in our finest French accents.

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