Okay, so I stole this clever headline from an article I found online about the soon-to-be-released movie “Julie and Julia” starring Meryl Streep as my friend and amazing mentor Julia Child.
Written and directed by the equally amazing Nora Ephron, the film is based on a blog and book by the same name written by a young New Yorker called Julie Powell who cooked her way through Child’s iconic and first of many books “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” – that’s more than 500 recipes in a mere 365 days.
Happily, the Ephron/Streep collaboration has produced a brilliant, funny and food-filled film that captures the personalty and passion of the wondrously charismatic Child.
It is much better than Powell’s book which I found so flat and fake that I only managed to get through the first few chapters.
Also happily, Amy Adams’s portrayal of Powell is as lively and riveting as Streep’s enthusiastic channelling of Child who comes across as the life-affirming, warm, whisk-wielding woman I came to know from 1991 until her death in 2004.
Ephron knows what she’s doing when it comes to things culinary.
Her wonderful novel “Heartburn” is a semi-autobiographical story about a food writer whose husband (based on Ephron’s former hubby Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame) cheats on her while she is pregnant with their child. She is played by – who else? – Meryl Streep in a movie directed by Ephron that came out in the 1980s.
Meryl Streep, who is much shorter than Child’s height of 6 ft 2, wore platform shoes and stood on raised floors to make her look tall in the movie – both ruses that worked perfectly.
More importantly, Streep manages to reproduce Child’s deep, plummy voice perfectly without hamming it up. Likewise for the funny scenes in which she has those inimitable kitchen accidents and flops in the kitchen that have been well documented on her TV shows and, most famously, spoofed by Dan Aykroyd.
The scenes in which Powell (Adams) cooks from Child’s book in her loft’s tiny kitchen – often successfully but sometimes not – are also evocative and cleverly done.
But it is the tender love between Child and her doting husband Paul that is a key theme. It was he who encouraged her to pursue a career in food and helped us all share this darling, indomitable woman’s love of it.
Thank you Nora and Meryl for keeping Child’s legacy alive and well.
As Toronto chef/restaurateur Donna Dooher said when I interviewed her for Child’s obituary that ran in the Toronto Star on August 21, 2004:
“She loved people and knew cooking is the best way of showing your love.”
For more on me and Julia, check this web site, in particular the videos.