Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Julie & Julia DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Streep’s Inspired Impersonation of Julia Child Arrives on DVD

Julia Child (1912-2004) is generally credited with introducing sophisticated cooking to the average American kitchen via her best-selling cookbook and her TV show, “The French Chef.” Between her towering, 6’2” tall physique and her distinctive, WASPy warble, the PBS series soon turned her into an international celebrity.
Among Julia’s many admirers was Julie Powell, a young gourmet who decided to spice up her marriage by preparing every recipe in her idol’s classic cookbook. When Julie subsequently began posting a running commentary on her blog about each dish she prepared, lo and behold, her website blossomed into a popular internet destination with a steady stream of devoted readers. She eventually interested a publisher in turning her electronic journal entries into “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” an opus which recounted her astounding culinary feat alongside intimate reflections about her personal life.
Julie & Julia, directed by Nora Ephron, is a bifurcated bio-pic interweaving events in Powell’s tome with those revealed in “My Life in France,“ a memoir chronicling Child’s postwar period in Paris spent honing her craft in classes at the famed Cordon Bleu. The legendary Meryl Streep delivers yet another incomparable performance here, humanizing the imperious Child, her trademark accent and all, in an alternatively playful and vulnerable portrayal which never slips into caricature.
Her half of the film opens in 1949 and serves up an array of anticipated mouth-watering gustatory delights alongside a tenderhearted love story about the late-blooming wallflower and her adoring, attentive husband (Stanley Tucci). The other strand of the picture, set in New York in the 2002, features the equally-touching relationship between Julie and her frequently-flabbergasted hubby (Chris Messina).
A refreshingly-charming take on an enduring cultural icon and an aspiring chef destined to go down in history as her #1 fan.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for sensuality and brief profanity.
Running time: 123 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Commentary by writer/director Nora Ephron, and a featurette entitled “Secret Ingredients: Creating Julie & Julia.”

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