The Julia Child that I remember was the stumbling over, too drunk version of herself that was almost a caricature. So it is good to remember, instead, her early days. The days that made her what she is/was: a star in the cooking pantheon.
"Julie and Julia" is really the story of the writer, Julie Powell (who wrote the book on which this movie was based). But it is Julia Child who is the fascinating one, and played by Meryl Streep (arguably our best living actress), those moments are riveting.
Meryl Streep is just (again) astonishing. Child had a very peculiar cadence to her voice, and Streep's vaunted facility for accents captures every nuance. But it's more than that. It's the way she holds her head, the way she walks. The way she seems like such a huge presence on screen (Child was larger and taller). And deep, deep in her characterization, there is a passion, a love that perhaps didn't appear so much in the Child of late that we knew.
This Julia Child loves Paris. Loves France. Loves French cooking. Loves her husband. It was a wondrous time in her life, and every single second of it was riveting to me.
Ann Roth's costumes are simply superb. Nora Ephron's direction really serves the story.
I didn't think it possible, but you are truly drawn into both women's stories. Amy Adams is more engaging and fetching than she has been in awhile. Supporting characters like the always amazing Jane Lynch, and Mary Lynn Rajskub from 24, make this a very fun movie to watch.
You probably will want to go out to eat afterwards, though, so have a good French restaurant lined up.