As 2021 begins tomorrow, Netflix will be receiving an onslaught of new films, including one of Jonah Hill’s first leading roles, and one of the best teen comedies of the 1990s. Within this great lineup of new films to binge in the new year is one of the best films from Amy Adams, one that any fan of the actress should check out.
By 2009, Amy Adams was already a huge star. She had already appeared in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, as well as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Charlie Wilson’s War, and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. She had starred in her own Disney film with 2007’s Enchanted, and received two Academy Award nominations for her roles in 2005’s Junebug and 2008’s Doubt, in which she starred alongside Meryl Streep. The following year, Adams would feature in another film with Streep, 2009’s Julie & Julia.
Julie & Julia was an adaptation of two books: My Life in France by famous chef Julia Child and co-authored by Alex Prud’homme, and Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment, written by Julie Powell. The film – at the title implies – is the story of both Julia Child, played by Meryl Streep, and Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams. Powell attempted to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a goal she chronicled on her blog. While Julie & Julia follows Powell’s adventures in cooking and her personal life, the film also chronicles the life of Julia Child as she becomes one of the most well-known and respected chefs in the world.
Julie & Julia received a fairly positive reception from critics and audiences. The film currently has a 7.0 rating on IMDB, with over 106,000 rankings, a 66 on Metacritic, and on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a Certified Fresh rating of 77%, with a 70% audience score. Despite the positive reviews, most centered on Meryl Streep’s performance as Julia Child, while Amy Adams’ side of the story seemed to be considered the film’s biggest weak point. Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club called Adams’ performance as Julie Powell “monstrously self-absorbed,” while A.O. Scott at The New York Times said, “Ms. Adams is a lovely and subtle performer, but she is overmatched by her co-star and handicapped by the material.”
The awards reception also leaned in Meryl Streep’s direction as well. Streep would receive an Oscar nomination for the role, and would win the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. While Streep was nominated and even won many awards for her portrayal of Julia Child, Amy Adams wasn’t nominated for a single award for her performance.
That isn’t to say Amy Adams isn’t great in Julie & Julia, she’s just overshadowed by the larger-than-life performance of Meryl Streep as Julia Child. The film also boasted an impressive supporting cast, which included Stanley Tucci as Julia Child’s husband Paul, Chris Messina as Julie’s husband Eric, as well as Jane Lynch, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Casey Wilson.
Julie & Julia was also the final film from Nora Ephron, arguably the greatest writer and director of romantic comedies, Nora Ephron. Not only was Ephron the writer of When Harry Met Sally…, but she also wrote and directed such classic romantic comedies as Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Ephron’s screenplay for the Meryl Street and Amy Adams-starring Julie & Julia would receive a Writers Guild Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Even though it’s early in Amy Adams’ career, Julie & Julia is proof that the actress was on her way to becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and is required viewing for any fans of the actress.