Julie and Julia has many aromas. That continental whiff of Paris, where much of it is set, virtually wafts off the screen. The smell of cooking - since it is about two cooks - also feeds your nose at least every couple of minutes. But mainly this film reeks of class.
It's not cool, edgy or revolutionary. It's just classy. Casting the most Oscar-nominated actor ever, Meryl Streep, certainly helps. She plays real-life 1950s American foodie Julia Child with unparalleled vigour. Haughty, flamboyant and hyperactive, it's the proverbial 'masterclass' in comedy acting from a star who continues to dazzle and devour her roles, even though she's got nothing left to prove. Maybe that's the reason.
Childs is the inspiration for contemporary New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) to take up cooking, following her mentor's legendary cookbook to the letter and blogging about her experiences. Where Meryl is old-school and larger-than-life, Amy is the counterpoint - a dowdy, everyday Queens resident from a less glamorous age, just trying to find direction in life. The two never meet, but their decades-apart stories buffer each other like bosom buddies.
Ultimately Julia & Julia is a love story. The love of food, the love of writing, the love of inspiration. It's what the film companies like to call 'life affirming' (Hollywood emo-babble but it really is). Streep's braying bubbliness is one of the funniest things you'll see this year. Amazing. She's like an early Nigella without the finger-licking and lingerie. It's panto dame stuff but crucially, and beautifully, interrupted by subtle moments of genuine sadness (most notably at her inability to have children). Only Meryl can make the line 'I DO know how to boil an egg' a comedy classic.
The pic's recreation of her post-war world of pearls and plaid is as lavish as Julie's Noughties boho is down-to-earth. Meanwhile, writer/director Nora Ephron doesn't leave a word or a shot out of place. Hello Academy Awards - this may be a 'mum movie' but as we all know, mum's cooking is always the best... (with apologies to my wife).
It's out 11th September.