Julie & Julia

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Julie & Julia Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Tempting Meryl Streep dramedy is OK but may bore kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 46 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Risk and bravery are rewarded, especially when they're accompanied by persistence and hard work. Both female protagonists have to pay their dues before they achieve success, especially Julia.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Two strong women find themselves through sheer force of will and creativity. Their husbands are very supportive, as are their friends.

Violence

McCarthyism’s insidious reach is a subtext of the film.

Sex

Married couples fall into bed, but there's no nudity except for the occasional bare shoulder. In a description for a food item, male genitalia is mentioned.

Language

“Bitch” pops up a few times, as do “damn,” “s--t,” and “hell.” "F--k" is used once. Other words include "c--k," "ass," "crap," "hell," and "oh my God."

Consumerism

PayPal is mentioned; logos for Salon.com and James Farm butter are visible, as are specific cookbooks.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking and smoking (the latter occurring during mostly during the Julia Child segments, when it was more era-accurate).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this dramedy is ultimately upbeat, it isn't all sugary sweet. The protagonists -- strong female characters played by Amy Adams and Meryl Streep -- both undergo identity crises of sorts and must grapple with all that entails, a theme that may not appeal to tweens and under (though the soul-searching's not too deep).There's some swearing (including one use of "f--k"), and the movie's two married couples are comfortable displaying their physical affections, though there's no nudity or graphic love scenes.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byHopeinJC March 4, 2010
This movie was fine for adults or mature teenagers, but why would you want kids younger than teens exposed to the bad language? This movie has nothing to offer... Continue reading
Parent of a 1 and 9-year-old Written byLoulouamie September 27, 2009

watch out for the bloody SNL spoof scene!

I thought this movie was great and my daughter and I read the CSM reviews before deciding to see it. She liked it a lot and it has even inspired her to learn so... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMoviegirl700 March 21, 2020

Everything you need to know about Julie & Julia!

I watched this the other night, and to be honest, I was not sure if I would enjoy it. I am not a major Meryl Streep fan, so I expected it to be half par, and ki... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byUpOnPointe August 8, 2019

Awesome movie

This movie is a really good movie for kids that are into cooking. The characters occasionally use bad language. The storyline is very intriguing but younger kid... Continue reading

What's the story?

It’s 2002, and Julie Powell (Amy Adams) has fallen into a rut. Her job as a clerk fielding 9/11 claims is both depressing and soul-killing. She’s swimming upstream while her affluent, successful friends glide by in their yachts, metaphorically speaking. So, encouraged by her husband (Chris Messina), Julie sets a goal: to cook her way through Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) venerable tome, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in one year. And, for good measure, she'll blog about it. As Julie makes her way through the 500-plus recipes, Julia's life, decades earlier, unfolds in Paris. A former government secretary married to a devoted diplomat (Stanley Tucci), she’s determined to reinvent herself, and her passion for good food seems as good a place as any to begin.

Is it any good?

Adams' Julie is delightful ... but not delightful enough to warrant quite so much screen time (what's with the distractingly bad haircut and the constant bellyaching?). Her arc moves the film forward, but it’s Julia Child who intrigues, so much so that it can be a killjoy to switch back to Julie in 2002. Although her Julia borders on caricature, Streep is still phenomenal, making it clear that the woman who wrote the cookbook that changed the way people cook was much more captivating and much less solipsistic than the real-life blogger who found fame through her.

Director Nora Ephron also unfortunately gives Paris a bit of the cold shoulder -- we get glimpses, but not enough to sate our hunger for the city that made Child swoon. And speaking of hunger: What happened to showing off all those tasty dishes Child was whipping up? Though the boeuf bourguignon and sole meuniere make the mouth water, and a perfectly iced chocolate cake tempts, there really isn’t enough food showcased for a film about a world-famous chef. Brief glimpses of meringue and close-ups of a trussed duck don’t feed a food-movie lover’s soul.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Julie felt compelled to set such a lofty goal. Was it just about the cooking? What did she learn besides how to make great food? How is she similar to or different from Julia?

  • How do the two characters stack up as role models?

  • What's the film's take on women’s roles, both then and now? What aboutidentity? What shapes your identity? Your work, your personal life, orboth?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strong female characters

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