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10th Anniversary: Julie & Julia is an 'Over & Over'

by Ginny O'Keefe

BONJOUR! It’s now been 10 years since Amy Adams (with a bad wig) and Meryl Streep (with platforms to make her look 6’2”) starred as the title characters in the delicious Nora Ephron film, Julie and Julia. The film follows New Yorker Julie Powell in 2002, challenging herself to make every recipe in Julia Child’s famous cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” while simultaneously chronicling Child’s start of her cooking profession in 1950’s France. I saw this film for the first time in theatres when it premiered back in August 2009 and thank God I had a large popcorn and Buncha Crunch by my side because otherwise I would’ve died of starvation.

Without a doubt, this is my favorite food film ever. It lets a legend and a regular person share the spotlight while paralleling each other through their obsession and love of good French food. This film inspired an interest in the culinary arts for this then 14-year-old me. I decided to make more food for myself (instead of just relying on my mom)...

After the movie I tried to recreate the mouthwatering scene when Julie pours her red wine in the stew of her simmering bœuf bourguignon wondering if I could make steam come out of the pot the same way. Unfortunately, all I had were a few pieces of leftover skirt steak that I let simmer on a frying pan, so the results were ...disappointing. I swear my cooking skills have dramatically improved since then! 

I put this movie in the category of “Over and Overs” movies you can watch multiple times, sometimes even more than once in a single day (and thanks to TBS marathons and Netflix, I have). It's really from the joy it brings. I love watching Amy struggle to make the perfect recipes while also making something of her life. I love watching Meryl emulate an icon while falling in love with everything Parisian. I love watching the intricate and expensive recipes being made and then the satisfaction of watching the actors actually eat them afterwards. And it's so satisfying that the hard work that both titular characters put into their love of cooking pays off in the end.

In the years since Julie & Julia I have developed a similar relationship with Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook “Cravings”, and nearly every time I’m in the kitchen making a complicated recipe I play the Julie & Julia soundtrack on Spotify. It’s simply a delicious and utterly warm film to watch. To this day my mother and I do our best impressions of Meryl doing her best impression of Julia Child. “That’s myuh motttOHHH!” This film may have aged 10 years, but it doesn’t get old. So in honor of it’s 10th anniversary, rewatch it. But make sure you have food nearby.

And for a little bonus, here’s the recipe for Julia Child’s famous bœuf bourguignon which was one of the heavy-hitting recipes in the film. 


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Reader Comments (24)

It's very delightful and indeed so watchable every time.
Meryl's simply wonderful, funny, and even Amy Adams is underrated in this. I truely wish Stanley Tucci was nominated for this movie and not... the other one.
Sadly it's Nora Ephron's last movie, but what a nice one.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

We watch this movie and call it "Julia & Paul" (we skip all of the Amy Adams scenes), and it always delights. It's Meryl's most joyous and most delightful performance; she's just radiating light and joy the whole time. One of my favourites of hers.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterShmeebs

This is from that great period where Streep truly embraced being a movie star, and ruled the summer box office season by providing an alternative to all the sequels and explosions.

She, and Adams, are absolutely perfect in their roles and this film works incredibly well tonally. This is such a delightful film, and relationship between Streep and Stucci is one for the ages.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I love this movie. For a good long time (like 8 years) this was my favorite Streep performance and film. Also, I thought she should've won the Oscar over Sandy B (I now think it should've been Sidibe).

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterChris

This is 7/10 Meryl for me I always find Tucci to be the honest heart of the film,he's not too showboaty but possesses a quiet pizzazz with Meryl.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

This is right down there with THE IRON LADY for me, another movie in which Streep is troweling on the impersonation so thickly that very little human personality can escape from beneath it. Best thing in the movie is Jane Lynch, who is saddled with the thankless task of impersonating Streep's impersonation of Child, and does so with great charm and grace.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

This movie would have been great if the Julie performance were good.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKl

I saw this film at the cinema each Wednesday for a month - love it. My number 1 Meryl performance and one of my favourite films. Love it. Thanks for the article, Ginny!

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Lewis

I love Meryl's performance in this. I think she nailed Child's singular personality. And I love the chemistry Meryl has with all of her co-stars. Now I want to make delicious French food and devour it while I rewatch this one.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Delightful film that wouldn’t work (so well) without the Julie parallel, which allows the thorniness of the “real” Julia to pale by comparison. Adams is unfairly maligned in this film, but, yes, I do agree that the wig is bargain-bin Bree Daniels...or something? Tucci absolutely should’ve been Oscar nominated for *this* performance, leaving The Lovely Bones completely snubbed (as is deserved). Messina is quite the fox, too; thank God for the smokin’ Sharp Objects reunion.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

One of Meryl’s most delightful performances. Not sure anyone else could have captured Julia Child in that way. And she should have won over Sandra. It is this loss here which led to the win for Iron Lady.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Kudos to Nora Ephron for pulling this off. Her enthusiasm for food, Julia Child, cooking, France, and her love for her cast can be felt in every frame. I admire the whole cast, but special praise for Meryl Streep who pulled off playing an icon. Thanks for this article.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Mareko -- it's still so weird to me that he wasn't but then I remember that Oscar has never been much for the "supportive husband" -- it's not a trope they love like "supportive wife"

Jamie - absolutely and then viola could have won her Oscar earlier and not done category fraud for Fences (sigh)

Ginny -- i love this concept of 'over and overs' though I will admit that this isnt one for me. I have seen it twice though. but i skip all of Julie's scenes the second time.

August 6, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Who are these people who insist Sidibe should have taken the Oscar? She's not a good actress. She was wobbly even in Precious. Don't confuse your pity for the circumstances and fate of the character with actress portraying her.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Nice post. Lovely film and genuinely pleasurable to watch. I hope Meryl and Amy partner again so they have a trio with this and Doubt.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

This movie is still delectable - and, if you're looking for easy Julia Child recipes, may I recommend her "Potage Parmentier" (leek and potato soup) which I made earlier this week with the spinach variety, and it was so delicious. Her recipes, probably due to the amount of butter and cream, are amazing.

August 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Its such an enjoyable performance. Absolutely giddy while also being heartfelt and 100% authentic. My vote would have probably gone to Sidibe is overall fantastic in Precious (that post maligning her is just ridiculous) out of the nominees. I'd have kicked out Mirren and added Tilda Swinton in Julia and that's where my vote would have gone.

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan (the 1st)

Yes, Meryl should have won her third Oscar for this movie! She is at her best when she is having fun... which is why I am very hopeful for the new Soderbergh movie, which looks like a sly comedy.

(Jane Lynch is in Julie and Julia?)

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Morgan -- Tilda wins my gold that year, too, for sure. But i did love Streep in this one. And Sidibe is marvelous in PRECIOUS.

Suzanne -- yeah, she plays her sister. :)

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Meryl should have won her third Oscar for this funny, vivid perfomance!
Sandra Bullock for "The bilnd side" ? Come on!

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterErick Loggia

how could u call skirt steak disappointing?

August 7, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterhi

God, I think Tucci's nomination for The Lovely Bones is one of the worst nominations in Oscar history. HATED his performance.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

This is one of her best performances and definitely her best in the past 10 years. She would have been a worthy Oscar winner.

August 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Imagine Meryl is a spaghetti strand away from winning the Oscar tt year, until Sandy blindsided her!! lol

Actually I refer her hilarious and more layered performance from Its Complicated released the same bumper year!

August 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

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