Julie & Julia (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

film_julie-julia_sm.jpgJulie & Julia is the rare "girly" movie that has nothing to do with getting a man, keeping a man or realizing you love the man you’ve known all your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Often, when it comes to how you make your living, there’s nothing more important than loving what you do. For some people that means making loads of money or getting to boss others around, but lots of us would take simply enjoying what we do, or at least feeling it impacts others in a positive way. Unfortunately for Julie Powell (Amy Adams), teetering on the brink of 30 years old has none of those things.

So Julie, an underachieving government cubicle drone, decides to give herself a kick-in-the-pants challenge: cooking all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (Meryl Streep) in one year, and blogging about it.

Julie & Julia is the rare "girly" movie that has nothing to do with getting a man, keeping a man or realizing you love the man you’ve known all your life. (I’ll be damned…finally!) Women have other things besides men to think about, and it’s about time we got a major motion picture release that focuses on the funny and bittersweet stories of women trying to find real meaning in their lives.

Julie’s story is interspersed with that of Julia’s time living in France. The two women, worlds and eras apart, seem at first to have nothing in common other than a love for food, but writer/director Nora Ephron draws constant comparisons through their trials and triumphs that never feel forced.

As Julie dives head-first into her self-imposed experiment, we see Julia experiencing France through a newcomer’s eyes. As Julie finally gets into the swing of things and defends her project against naysayers, we see Julia discovering the calling that would change her life forever. And as Julie’s blog begins to get noticed, we see Julia gamely navigating the thorny path that leads to the publication of her first cookbook. Comparing the two journeys really gives the audience a sense of how we all want the same thing: happiness.

Adams’ Julie starts off as uninspired and insecure. But as the project grows, we get to watch her thrive, struggle, melt down and rejoice. Adams is building quite a career by playing characters beset with challenges, but who always keep a little light in their eyes that says, "I will go on, no matter what." She’s a pleasure to watch, yet again.

Streep has made her Julia a revelation. The woman is so filled with joie de vivre that you can’t help rooting for her and smiling whenever she appears on screen. As Julie and Julia found out, it’s a wonderful thing to find work that you love. And Streep’s love for acting (and the women she plays) is all over this film. | Adrienne Jones

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