In 2002, Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a young writer with an unpleasant job at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s call center, where she answers telephone calls from victims of the September 11 attacks and members of the general public complaining about the LMDC’s controversial plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center.
To do something she enjoys, she decides to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) by Julia Child (Meryl Streep) in one year; Powell decides to write a blog to motivate herself and document her progress.
Woven into the story of Powell’s time in Queens in the early 2000s is the story of Child’s time in Paris throughout the 1950s, where she attends Le Cordon Bleu to learn French cooking and begins collaborating on a book about French cooking for American housewives. The plot highlights similarities in the women’s challenges.
Both women receive much support from their husbands (Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina), except when Powell’s husband becomes fed up with her excessive devotion to her hobby and leaves her for a short time. Eventually, Powell’s blog is featured in a story published in The New York Times, after which her project begins to receive the attention of journalists, literary agents, publishers, and a dismissive response from Child herself.
Director: Nora Ephron
Year of Release: 2009
Character to watch: Meryl Streep as Julia Child.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?