Julie & Julia Review Wrapup [metacriticsm]
Well, the reviews are in: The general consensus, as expected: Meryl Streep is great, the Julia Child half is great, the Julie Powell half: not so much. Overall, it's not tracking well: As of this writing, it has a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 60 on Metacritic. On with the show:
Food Media & Blogs
Laura Shapiro for Gourmet:
The idea of Powell as a contemporary heir to this personal and culinary epic is absurd. Nothing in her relation to the kitchen offers the slightest hint that she has learned anything at all from her heroine... Bring a book and a penlight for the Powell half of this movie. But the Julia half? Vaut le voyage, and I can’t wait to go back a third time.
Josh Friedland, The Food Section:
Like many others have already asserted, the Julia Child portion of the film ends up the stronger part of the story and shows her life may even deserve its own exclusive biopic. And, the stronger her half gets, the more the Julie Powell half suffers from the comparison.
James Oliver Cury for Epicurious:
Gorgeous shots of Paris in the '50s and modern-day New York... Core message of persistence, vision, inner strength... The honest representation of book publishing... Sex scenes... Omitted truths... Abrupt ending...
Regular (Old) Media
A.O. Scott for The New York Times:
Ms. Adams is a lovely and subtle performer, but she is overmatched by her co-star and handicapped by the material... The deck is further stacked against Ms. Adams by the discrepancy between Ms. Powell’s achievement and Ms. Child’s, and by a corresponding imbalance in Ms. Ephron’s interest in the characters. The conceit of parallel lives is undone by the movie’s condescending treatment of Julie and also by its ardent embrace of the past at the expense of the present... The unevenness of “Julie and Julia” is nobody’s fault, really. It arises from an inherent flaw in the film’s premise
Lou Lumenick for the New York Post:
A sometimes food writer whose films as a director have tended to glibness and worse, Ephron discovers a heretofore missing passion that also illuminates the lovely romantic scenes between Julia and her husband, Paul... It's hard to believe the same director handled the desultory Julie scenes... It's a slog, complete with the expected sit-comish cooking disasters and a visit from an adoring New York Times food writer (playing herself).
Mick LaSalle for the SF Gate:
In fact, if "Julie & Julia" focused entirely on the "Julia" part, it would be, without question, one of the best movies of the year. But there's another side to the movie, the Julie Powell side... it goes about justifying the juxtaposition of the two women by finding shallow parallels between them.
Roger Ebert for The Chicago Sun-Times:
A fair number of no-doubt delicious recipes are prepared and served, but there is never a moment when our mouths water as they did over the Japanese noodle soup in "Tampopo."... “Julie & Julia” is not lacking in entertainment value, especially with the Streep performance. But if the men had been portrayed as more high-spirited, it might have taken on intriguing dimensions. Both husbands are, frankly, a little boring
Justin Chang for Variety:
This middling melange of Child biopic and contempo dramedy feels overstuffed and predigested as it depicts two ladies who found fame and fulfillment in their respective eras by cooking and writing about it... by conflating the characters so neatly, "Julie & Julia" becomes the slick, presumptuous vanity project that Powell's book was not... it's hard to imagine that Julia Child herself, an unapologetic Francophile with one hell of an appetite, would have been much of a fan.
Kirk Honeycutt for The Hollywood Reporter:
Powell's story about her single-minded engagement with Child's cookbook has an almost unpleasant taste of self-absorption. And by sharing her story with Child's, Ephron throws the wrong emphasis on Child's delightful memoir.
Armond White for NY Press:
[Streep's] tall, well-dressed Julia is basically comic mimicry, emphasizing middle-aged elegance and emulating the famous piping voice and hulking stance... This crafty performance stays as superficial as Dan Ackroyd’s Julia Child spoof on Saturday Night Live... Ephron conveys neither gustatory joy nor cinematic know-how.
Robert Wilonsky for The Village Voice:
Julie & Julia adapted from Julie Powell's blog-turned-memoir... is an absolutely delightful read... Yet all Ephron saw in that tale was just another dreary romantic comedy. The book, originally shopped as a stand-alone project, could have made for a scrappy, scrumptious indie—all the outer-borough funk and main-course "fucks" of the book left intact, Bridget Jones doused in Béarnaise sauce and vodka gimlets. But Ephron has excised the heart (and gizzard and liver and so on) from Powell's tale.
David Edelstein for New York Magazine:
[W]hen Ephron cuts between Paris in the fifties and Queens in 2002 to show Julia and Julie as they both achieve autonomy through cooking, The Godfather Part II this ain’t—the connection is strained... But Streep kicks it up about a million notches, and Ephron is an enthusiastic cook, so the film has some foodie texture... Ephron should make a film about the person she herself is (smart, acid) instead of the cutie-pixie of her dumb fantasies.