Modern Heat author Heidi Rice explores a culinary masterclass of acting, writing and directing as Meryl Streep and Amy Adams cook up a storm for Nora Ephron's new women's pic Julie & Julia. But be warned, this is one movie to avoid if you're trying to diet...
On one of our rare nights out recently (thank goodness for sleepovers!!), my DH and I treated ourselves to a delicious meal at our local pub-restaurant The Duke of Cambridge and then decided to continue the foodie theme by going to the new movie by writer/director Nora Ephron (she of Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally fame) at the nearby multiplex.
And what a treat we had in store for us. Even my husband couldn't fault this movie, despite the fact that I did have to ply him with a fair bit of wine to persuade him to see it, after lots of predictable muttering about chick flicks and girly stuff and the inevitable 'are you sure there isn't anything better on' rejoiner once we'd arrived at the cinema box office.
Normally, I would have waited for a girls night out to see this movie, so I could avoid the usual huffing and puffing... But after our splendid meal this just seemed like the way to go. Because, as well as being a movie about two bright, brilliant and wonderfully unconventional women - the indomitable 20th-century chef Julia Child (author of the seminal 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking') and perky young 21st-century blogger Julie Powell, who challenged herself to cook all of Julia's 524 recipes in a single year - this is a film about food... In all it's mouth-watering perfection.
As Meryl's Julia cooks her way through the cordon bleu establishment in Paris and endeavours to write a book about it and Amy's Julie takes on everything from steaming a lobster to boning a duck in her tiny Queens apartment we get up close and personal with gastronomique excellence. Honestly, at one point I could have sworn I could actually taste the boeuf bourginon it looked so good.
Ephron has chosen a topic which is as fabulously unconventional as the characters of these two trailblazing women. I mean, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when she pitched this movie to the executives at Columbia. 'Well, you see I've got this great idea based on a blogger's book and it's about two women who never meet, cooking, for two solid hours.' No car chases, no guns, no CGI and not a single teen dance-a-thon in sight.
Luckily for us, they decided to thrust Ephron's judgement. But I suspect the cast also sweetened the pill. After all, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are surely two of the most watchable, and most liked actresses about at the moment, and with good reason if this film is anything to go by. Meryl, who just keeps getting better with age, has the tall, ungainly and delightfully outspoken Childs down pat, while Amy is no slouch either as the slightly ditzy but surprisingly determined food enthusiast who soon realises she's bitten off a lot more than she ever planned to chew.
And then there are the men in their lives.... Stanley Tucci as Child's diplomat husband Paul who supported Julia's dream of becoming a published cookery writer during her many knock-backs, and Chris Messina as Powell's hunky husband Eric who put a brave face on having to scoff down an incredible array of cordon bleu cuisine and amazingly didn't seem to gain an ounce (and yes, I was looking!!)
All in all, this one ticks all the boxes, but I'd recommend going for a slap-up meal before hand, or you may find yourself salivating over your popcorn.
Warm and fuzzy rating, an easy 10 out of 10, and that's just for the food!
Heidi Rice's latest Modern Heat, Public Affair, Secretly Expecting, is due out in the UK in November and will be morphing into a Presents come next March.
The sequel to her September Presents, Hot-Shot Tycoon, Indecent Proposal, Public Affair features bad boy Irish movie star Cormac Brody and shy, but not at all retiring, London dress shop manager Juno Delamare.
Heidi loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her on her blog or through her website.