I saw Julie and Julia Friday with my usual movie-viewing pal.
I love movies and see as many as I can in any given year, a fact that regular readers know quite well. And, yes, I tend to enjoy more than the usual action thrillers you might suspect a guy like me would favor. Really, romantic comedies are mostly my favorite. Now, I wouldn’t quite classify Julie and Julia as a rom-com, but that’s closer than almost anything else.
It was a cute film, but a good one. The movie is really two parallel stories, one following Julia Child as she discovers French cooking and becomes the famous chef and teacher we all know, and the other following Julie, who blogs about a year of cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The two stories work surprisingly well together for a number of reasons. For one thing, both women are trying to “find themselves”, each in their own way. They’re both trying to “fix” their lives and they both try to do it through cooking.
Of course, the stories are vastly different in many ways; location, time, people. None of those are the same. But, the universal problem of defining, or redefining, who we are as human beings is what drove both women to seek a way to become someone new. And, each in their own way, that’s just what they did.
Julia was married to a man who worked for the U.S. government, though, they had met during World War 2 when they both worked for the O.S.S. Yes, that’s right, Julia Child was a spy. Oh, they joke about her being a file clerk, but she was quite a bit more than that. Incidentally, that’s something to keep in mind when seeing the movie as it will open up a couple small, inside jokes for you. But, at the time, the 1950’s, diplomat’s wives were expected to be little more than busy and social, which, as you might imagine didn’t sit well with Julia. So, she tried a number of things, before finally finding cooking in Paris, where she and her husband were stationed. The rest of her story follows the history of how she came to co-author Mastering the Art of French Cooking and, well, and become famous.
Julie’s story is a little different.
She’s about turn thirty and feels like all her friends are far more successful than she. She’s a writer, who seems to have a hard time getting published. It’s a character and situation to which I can deeply relate. She toils away in a cubicle feeling under-appreciated and unfulfilled. So, to fight her way back to a bit of control over some aspect of her life, and with the encouragement of her husband, she decides to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a single year and keep a blog of her adventures along the way.
The effort changes her life in more ways than she could have ever expected. And, that, to me is the aspect of both stories that tie them together and made the movie good.
Both women discovered that life is an adventure. An adventure that happens in small increments on a daily basis. Those small moments that we meet with no fanfare or crowd which change us in some small way, over and over again, are what make life both interesting and worth living. But only if we pay attention to them and look for them.
To me, that was the message of the movie and why I recommend that you see it. If you’ve missed it in the theater, rent it. It’s a nice, little movie and I think you’ll enjoy it.