JULIE & JULIA – Pleasing To The Palate

Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are whisked and glazed to perfection

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

JULIE & JULIA is as delicious as it gets. Meryl Streep as “Julia Child” is radiantly charming, convincingly ebullient, and – when alone with husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) – a babe. There is a sense of honor around Meryl Streep’s performance. The day it was announced she had signed for the part, we all sighed in relief, “But, of course!” Her sense of joy and challenge is the stuff of a great interpreter. Meryl Streep has delivered a performance that is career-defining and likely to remain in the upper tier of her many outstanding performances.

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MERYL STREEP – as Julia Child

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AMY ADAMS – as Julie Powell. A pound of butter and Thou.

Amy Adams as “Julie Powell” is the perfect foil for Meryl Streep – even though they are in separate locations and varying time zones. Adams knows how to handle a whisk under pressure. Everything else is about simple beauty, great energy in the kitchen, and passionate sparks with the comely Chris Messina as husband “Eric”. Although his role could have been a tad better written and with more insight on the grocery bill and kitchen clean-up, Chris Messina is a fine leading man and definitely that of the let’s-get-married-now variety. Loves chocolate frosting … on his face.

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AMY ADAMS and CHRIS MESSINA

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MERYL STREEP and STANLEY TUCCI (as Paul Child)

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JULIA CHILD and SIMONE BECK. LINDA EMOND (“Simone”)

Superb performances are delivered by Julia’s collaborators, Linda Emond (as Simone Beck) and Helen Carey (Louisette Bertholle). The delightful soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat includes the familiar theme from the French Chef along with superbly-timed moments from “Psycho Killer” (Talking Heads), “Mes Emmerdes” (Charles Aznavour), “Time After Time” (Margaret Whiting), and “A Bushel and A Peck” (Doris Day).

Director Nora Ephron has also written the screenplay. Her inter-twining scenes are lifted from the biography of Julia Child, My Life In France, and shuffled into the blogged material of Julie Powell. The flow from Julia is about her early years in France, graduating from the Cordon Bleu, the years of preparation on the cookbook, and her rise to fame as America’s favorite TV chef. The narrative for Julie concerns her self-challenge to prepare every one of the 524 recipes in Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking within the period of one year while creating an Internet blog and, thus, building a fan base which brings the story to the present. In true comedic form, triumph is met with fiesta. Both couples and their very separate world of friends and lovers celebrate well-earned success with the finest cuisine possible – á la Julia Child.

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Victoire! Pâté de Canard en Croûte. First, you bone your duck.

Click on the title to add these related items to your library:
My Life In France. Julia’s story of her early years before the Cordon Bleu and her skyrocket to fame.

Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Vols. 1 & 2. By Julia Child, Louise Bertholle, and Simone Beck.

French Chef – Superb under-pinings by composer Alexandre Desplat include: Burning The Stew, Bouef Bourguignon, and Julia Hates Me.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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