I’ve been going through a serious phase with the movie Julie and Julia for the past several months, and in this post I am going to explain why.
I’m one of those people who goes all-in whenever I find something I really like. Have you had an experience where you find a song or album that speaks to you? And then you proceed to play it on repeat for a year without even the thought of listening to anything else? That’s me. Sometimes I cycle through my obsessions quickly & other times they stick. The Sound of Music, Harry Potter, and Mariah Carey have lasted for almost my entire lifetime and continue to hold strong. But there are others, like The Gilmore Girls, which had a solid 5-6 year run before piddling off somewhere deep into the Netflix queue.
The verdict is out on whether Julie and Julia will fall into the “lifetime obsession” category. Time will tell. For now, this is an appreciation post for Nora Ephron’s beautifully put-together 2009 film.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Julie and Julia features Meryl Streep (Julia Child) opposite Stanley Tucci (her husband, Paul). Amy Adams fills the role of Julie Powell, a failed-writer-turned-government-worker, who decides to cook and blog her way through Julia Child’s famed cookbook, The Art of French Cooking. The women’s stories are told side by side and are artfully intertwined, resulting in an entertaining and delightful film. It doesn’t hurt that the stories are set in two of the most cinematic cities in the world, Paris and New York City.
Discovering Julie and Julia
I saw the film for the first time in 2009 when it was released in theaters, and I felt just fine about it. Meaning that I enjoyed it, but it didn’t have a huge impact on me. I certainly didn’t go home and watch it everyday while cooking new recipes, the way I have for the past couple of months.
Thankfully, I rediscovered the film a few years ago it when it came to Netflix. I had just begun cooking and was in the process of discovering that with knowledge & skill I could create better meals than I had eaten in many restaurants. During that time, I was immersed in cookbooks and YouTube videos in my pursuit to become a great chef. It makes sense that the movie took on a new meaning and inspired me when I rewatched it.
Why I Love It
The reason I love this movie so much is because it makes me feel a sense of comradery in the kitchen. Julie Powell states in the film that she feels like Julia Child is her friend and accompanies her in the kitchen “like a great big, good fairy” that is “on her side”. I think this must be the way that several generations of viewers and readers felt about Julia Child, and the film captures that quality perfectly. If you’ve never seen Julia Child in action, check her out below. She really was a complete delight, and I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two.
For the Love of Food
Along with Julia Child’s gregarious demeanor, her and Julie Powell’s love of food propels this film as well as my love for it. I love food in a way that’s hard to express, and the people who I connect with deepest in life are the people who love to eat. As Julia said once, “people who love to eat are always the best people”. I feel understood on an existential level when Julia bites into a fish swimming in butter and simply cannot find words to describe her awe.
There are several scenes like this that are artfully filmed and capture the beauty of food and the enjoyment that comes with it. Any avenue that expresses food appreciation and respect is something I am happy to indulge myself in, and I am fully here for it.
Julia Child at Heart
The tremendous acting done by the lead characters and the beautifully filmed scenes are wonderful enough to keep watching, but the heart behind the film is what has me coming back each day to fill my home and kitchen with it’s story. And Julia Child is the heart of this film.
The way the character of Julia Child conducts herself in the society of the time and perseveres to get her book published is incredibly admirable. I love that Julia followed her inkling, went against her parent’s and society’s expectations of her, and foraged her own path. I carry her fearlessness in the kitchen with me and use one of her golden rules as my motto:
“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize”
This motto serves me just as well in life as it does in the kitchen. The world is better because of her courage, and we most certainly eat better because of her influence.
To sum up my feelings for this movie, it’s a beautifully told story with incredible acting and storytelling. The cinematography is divine. The love and appreciation for food is at the forefront and is only out-shadowed by Julia Child’s illustrious influence. The person of Julia Child is the heartbeat of this film, making it worth the watch for any food-lover, at-home chef, or human being.
If you’ve seen this movie, I would love to know your thoughts on it. Do you connect to it in the same way I do, or do you feel differently? Leave your comments below. If you haven’t seen the film, I hope that I have inspired you to check it out… its only a Netflix click away.