Usually if you like the movie, you’ll love the book and that’s true in general terms. But like everything else there is always an exception to the rule. Just to get things clear, this particular film is a very rare case as the adaptation of a combination of two books and a cookbook. I’m referring to ‘Julie & Julia’ - released in 2009 and based on two books: ‘Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen‘ by Julie Powell and ‘My Life in France’ by Julia Child, while there are many references to the famous cookbook, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, written by the latter.
Nora Ephron, famous for her comedy/romance movies like When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail put these two books together and created a screenplay. There are two parallel stories. One takes place in the past and the other in the present, one in France and the other in New York, telling the very same thing: how to master the art of French cooking. Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, is in her thirties, married and trapped in a small apartment and by a life that doesn’t suit her. In order to get a little inspiration and motivation for the future, she sets the peculiar goal of cooking all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ within a year. While she tries to pull this off, she starts blogging her experiences.
On the other side, you have the story of Julia Child, played by Meryl Streep, when she and her husband begin a new life in Paris. In order to defeat boredom and find something interesting to do, Julia attends Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. There, collaborating with two other women, Julia starts work on a book about the French cuisine; a cookbook addressed to the American housewives of the time.
The viewer watches both stories as they develop, while the screenplay emphasizes the similarities between these two characters. Nora Ephron, besides writing the screenplay, also directed the movie in a way that shows what unites these women, despite living very different lives, in very different time periods.
I really liked the movie, simply because there is nothing not to like. The casting was perfect with Meryl Streep giving a really interesting interpretation of Julia Child, and Amy Adams managing to convince the audience adequately. Additionally, the supporting roles were handed to Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina – both excellent choices. However, the true protagonist of this movie is the food and how it can influence one’s life in spectacular ways.
Both books that inspired Nora Ephron are kind of memoirs. I started reading Julie Powell’s book and it was really hard to keep on reading. It was boring and tiring - a constant babble with no full stop. Too many thoughts and too much information makes the reader bored and eager to skip pages; without any consistence and a worrying lack of planning regarding the writing method. I really admired how it was adapted, and how Nora Ephron managed to transform it into something interesting. Of course there were a great many alternations and changes, all working in a beneficial way, pushing the film on powerfully and movingly.
Julie & Julia at IMDb
Julie & Julia at Rotten Tomatoes
Julie & Julia at Wikipedia
Julie & Julia (awards won and nominated for) at IMDb
Julie & Julia official website at Sony Pictures
Julia Child at Wikipedia
Julie Powell at Wikipedia