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Julie & Julia


Stars: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jane Lynch, Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Helen Carey, Vanessa Ferlito, Felicity Jones

Director: Norah Ephron

Although it's a bit long, the personalities of the two leading actresses keep this slim foodie anecdote afloat. Streep gives an extravagant but magnetic performance as Julia Child, an American woman living in Paris after World War Two who enrols in a gourmet cookery course, which will lead to writing (with French collaborators) a huge tome on French cooking for American housewives - the first of its kind.

Fifty years on, and Julie Powell (the adorable Adams) is a frustrated writer who starts one of the first blogs when she decides to cook all 524 of Julia's recipes in 365 days.

The struggles of both women put strains on their marriages, though less so for Julia with the always-supportive Paul (immaculately played by Tucci). Eventually she becomes a TV celebrity - a sort of American Fanny Cradock. Inducting her audience into the mysteries of boning a duck, she gurgles, Edith Evans-style: "Take your knife...confront the duck!'

Even Adams can't compete with this, though her dishes look as tasty as the cook. It's a slight piece, rather dragged out to its two-hour length, but with many incidental pleasures along the way.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Technicolor.
123 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 04 Sep 2009