Meryl Streep probably is the best actress of our time – 15 Oscar nominations and 2 wins speak for themselves. Unfortunately, some of her movies question her choice in roles. ‘Julie & Julia’ is one of those movies.
‘Julie & Julia’ is the story of Julia Child, an American who learns how to cook in Paris, and Julie Powell, an office worker who escapes her world by cooking Julia Child’s recipes. Among the well-chosen cast are Meryl Streep as Julia, Amy Adams as Julie, the great but underused Stanley Tucci as Julia’s husband, the hilarious Jane Lynch and quirky Mary Lynn Rajskub. The acting is solid throughout the movie, but there is only so much actors can do when the material isn’t quite right.
Solid seems to be the theme of this movie – the acting is solid, the music is solid, the storylines are solid, but nothing stands out. It seems as if the writers, directors and editors hadn’t taken any risks and thereby made the movie boring. With its 2 hours and 3 minutes, the movie does not progress as swiftly as it could. Numerous storylines are briefly mentioned – a wedding, a divorce, unsupportive friends, the wish for a baby – but then not touched upon for the rest of the film. This frustrates the viewer, who could have done without these storylines and wouldn’t have missed them at all.
Nora Ephron, who co-wrote and directed ‘Julie & Julia’, was certainly another reason why viewers saw the movie or had high expectations of it. ‘When Harry Met Sally.’, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ and ‘You’ve Got Mail’ are all classics either written and/or directed by Ephron. However, looking back at her last movie, ‘Bewitched’, it almost seems as if she has lost her magic as a filmmaker.
The movie offers a few laughs and a few heartfelt moments, but fails to draw the viewer in completely. Amy Adams is adorable, even through her flaws and breakdowns the audience can’t help but like Julie. Meryl Streep’s acting is consistently great, but Julie & Julia doesn’t allow her to show her skills.
Had the movie been shorter by 30 minutes, viewers might have thoroughly enjoyed watching the story unfold. However, no character or storyline stood out and this movie-going experience will probably be forgotten by many as soon as they leave the theatre.