Review of Julie and Julia

Review of Julie and Julia written and directed by Nora Ephron
Rating *****

Who would have thought that a movie about cooking could be so good? Instead of writing a review, I'd rather talk about some other things that interested me about this film. My five star rating speaks for itself.

First, there is the genesis of this film. It all began on a blog just like this. I remember not that long ago reading about how writer Julie Powell got a book deal from her blog. When I heard the concept behind the blog, I thought it was clever. Julie set out to cook every meal from Julia Child's first cookbook. She was going to do it in a year and blog about her experience. I'm sure she didn't realize it at the time how her life paralleled that of Julia Child's. Both women benefited from luck and chance in ways neither could have predicted.

Anyone who has taken a screenplay writing class can tell you about the three act structure. And I'm sure if you looked hard enough you could come up with a three act structure for this film. But this is no cookie cutter script. Nora Ephron seamlessly combines two stories occurring in two different time periods and doesn't skip a beat. She does so both in the writing and in the editing. She also manages to spread the humor equally between the two stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and publishing references sprinkled throughout the film. Almost every scene had some clever insight as to what it's like to create something and then to have it judged. I don't write reviews of books and films because I'm trying to be a critic. I write them because I'm eager to share with others a particular story I found interesting and writing about it in review format seems like the best way to say what I liked or didn't like. This story worked for me on every level.

I've always said that the best movies are usually the result of collaboration. Too often films written and directed by the same individual are flawed, mostly because the single-minded writer/director isn't willing to compromise or take suggestions. But there are the rare occasions when it works. Risky Businessis one good example. This film is another. I'm guessing that there is still plenty of collaboration going on. There has to be. Nora Ephron has done it before. This is another home run.

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