Bob Spitz on ‘Julie and Julia’

by Nora Ephron

This movie had disaster written all over it from the get-go. A biopic of a 50-plus woman who, let’s face it, was no glamour-puss, with a voice that rivaled Elmer Fudd’s for wackability. And with Meryl Streep in the title role! Dan Aykroyd had already taken a magnificent comic swing at Julia that was hard to shed. And yet, two minutes in, I was absolutely sold. Streep brought Julia to life, gave her voice and humanity, but Nora Ephron’s script lit her from within by infusing the character of Julia Child — that is, the TV character we all know — with depth, wisdom and precision. Beyond that, her script pulled off a doozy, weaving together stories of two seemingly disparate lives in a tautly drawn frame. It’s all there in the writing. As Julia herself might have said: “Julie and Julia” has all the best ingredients — wit and soul and even good taste.

Bob Spitz, author of “The Beatles,” is writing a bio of Julia Child, to be published by Knopf in 2012.

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