Blu-ray Disc Review: Julie & Julia
Movie ••••½ Picture •••• Sound ••• Extras ••••
I've always been immune to Nora Ephron's charms as a writer and director. Not anymore. Julie & Julia exudes enough joie de vivre to melt the defenses of even the most jaded hipster. And what can be said about Meryl Streep? She doesn't just channel Julia Child; she brings the culinary icon to the screen with a goodnatured ferocity that borders on the miraculous. This is Julia in Paris in the 1950s, but it's the same Julia whom, years later, so many American TV viewers would imagine as their personal kitchen muse - and whom, in 2002, a certain Julie (Amy Adams) would emulate by cooking every recipe in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
There are few better places than nostalgic Paris to showcase high-quality visuals. On this Blu-ray Disc, the French exteriors and interiors alike are awash in light, revealing a wide color palette. Shifting to the grittier corners of Julie's modern-day Queens, the disc gets a chance to exhibit its fine shadow detail. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound is completely adequate, with well-rendered dialogue, but there's not much else for it to reproduce, other than the occasional surround cues and effects during the many dinner parties.
Extras include a predictably erudite commentary by Ephron and a well-thought-out making-of featurette. Among the Blu-ray exclusives, general audiences will enjoy the remembrances of the real Julia from her family and friends - but for me, they detract a bit from the magical Julia that Streep creates. Foodies will definitely love the tour of her kitchen and the actual cooking lessons given by Child and others.