Photo by Jonathan Wenk/Columbia Pictures
So just how good is Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Julie & Julia, the Nora Ephron film that's had the food world salivating for months? Last Thursday we attended the movie's premiere in New York and we're happy to confirm that she's fantastic. We knew Julia over the years and Streep captured her in every nuance--so much so that from now on, people are likely to remember Streep playing Julia as the real Julia. Ephron's masterly touch with actors no doubt deserves some of the credit as well.
We had no particular expectations for Amy Adams, whose role was to re-create a person neither of us had ever met. But she was excellent as the 30-year-old Julie Powell, who cooked every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year and detailed her experiences in a blog. Seeing Julie and her husband was like a flashback to ourselves at the same age, becoming more and more interested in food. As a break from studying law, we found the same satisfaction in cooking and eating Julia's recipes, though we certainly got through far fewer of them than the determined Powell did.
In terms of production values, Julie & Julia is about as good as it gets. The scenes from Julia's life in the late '40s and thereafter--particularly in Paris, as she discovered French food and learned to cook at Le Cordon Bleu--were so well done that we felt transported back to those days. Having lived in Paris a few decades later and eaten more than our fair share of restaurant meals there--not to mention Nina's time spent at Le Cordon Bleu (more on that in a minute)--the movie evoked many wonderful memories. The scenes with Julie in her Queens apartment were also realistic but, needless to say, nowhere near as romantic.