Julie & Julia was largely criticized for its split format. Most people loved Meryl Streep as a fluttery, determined Julia Child, while hardly anyone wanted to spend time with Amy Adams’ narcissistic blogger, who chronicles her attempt to cook her way through Child’s famous recipe book in one year. Yet as unlikeable as the Adams character often is (she’s based on author Julie Powell, whose book is the basis for the film), the juxtaposition between the two women is what makes Julie & Julia rise above the banalities of a standard biography. Though existing in different eras, these are both women fighting to define themselves in a man’s world. That they do this by redefining cooking – something often thought of as a burden of the fairer sex – is an irony that Julie & Julia heartily embraces. Add to this the fact that the movie, directed by Nora Ephron, acknowledges it’s perfectly healthy for women to enjoy both eating and sex, and you have something rare in Hollywood: a feminist work of popular art.