Length: 2hrs 3mins
Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams
Director: Norah Ephron
Star rating: 4
MERYL Streep looks certain to secure a 16th Oscar nomination for her tour-de-force portrayal of an American cultural icon in the new comedy from writer-director Nora Ephron (Sleepless In Seattle).
Based on two memoirs set more than 50 years apart, this is a frothy and entertaining tale of cuisine, l’amour and the art of killing lobsters.
As a film of two distinct halves, Ephron’s confection is unbalanced. Scenes of Streep in post-Second World War France are delightful, while present-day sequences headlined by Amy Adams are a mere amuse bouche in comparison.
Julia Child (Streep) is an inspiration to generations of women across the Atlantic, as the first American woman to study at the esteemed Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris.
She then introduced French cuisine to the kitchens of her homeland.
The film opens in the French capital as Julia and her doting husband Paul settle into new lodgings and she attends Le Cordon Bleu, where the teachers deride her efforts.
Meanwhile, in 2002 New York, enthusiastic cook Julie Powell (Adams) decides to work through all 524 recipes in Child’s seminal tome, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, in just 365 days and to pen a blog about her exploits.
Ephron cuts back and forth between the two storylines, contrasting Julia’s rock-solid marriage with Julie’s foundering relationship.
The film rises like a souffle thanks to Streep’s portrayal of pluck and vulnerability in Child.
We feel like we know Child by the end of the film, which simmers nicely but never quite comes to the boil.