On Saturday night, The Gryphon and I wanted to see a movie. There were three or four that we were interested in, but we went with Julie & Julia, because we both wanted to see it.
I found the movie to be not only entertaining but also an inspiration.
The movie follows two stories: that of Julie Powell, a blogger who finds purpose by writing about her experiences trying to make every single recipe in Julia Child's cook book; and the story of Julia Child, how she went from being an ambassador's wife to the best-known figure in American culinary history.
While the movie is based on real-life events, there's plenty of humor in it, some of which has already appeared in the trailers. There are many more delightful moments that don't. Unlike many films, which start out light-hearted, then grow far too serious after reaching the crisis point, this film follows narrative structure while still continuing to entertain.
It's not much of a secret what happens in these women's lives. After all, we know that Julie's blog turns out to be such a success she gets not only a book deal but also a movie deal. And we know that Julia's French cookbook for Americans, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, changes the world of cooking forever, and that she goes on to host a popular cooking show.
The fascinating thing is discovering, along the way, the challenges that both of these women faced in order to achieve those dreams. That's why I love the structure of this movie: it contrasts the two stories and shows them at different stages in their lives, experiencing similar things. At the beginning of the movie, Julie tours her newly-rented, dilapidated apartment in Queens, above a pizza parlor. Meantime, Julia explores her new residence, a luxurious home in Paris which she exuberantly compares to Versailles.
Despite the fact that these two women are different ages, different backgrounds, different time periods, they experiences many of the same doubts and setbacks, as well as, ultimately, the same determination to succeed.
I think that's what makes this film resonate so well, because just about anyone could identify with this film. Women in particular. It's easy to fall into patterns, to accept what society dishes out for you without seeking to rise above it: to fall into a thankless bureaucratic job, or hosting tea parties as a diplomat's wife. The most important lesson of this movie is not just to dream but to follow through.
Both women have support networks: in the form of their husbands, friends, and family members, all of whom, at different points, urge the women to continue with their efforts. I found this movie inspirational to move forward with my current writing projects. I've always been good at dreaming. Now I've got to follow through.
I would recommend this movie, both for fans of Julia Child and for anyone who enjoys a good laugh. Meryl Streep and Amy Adams do a great job in their respective roles. Perhaps it will inspire you, as well, even if it's only to get a good meal afterwards.
Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)
Dreamers need to eventually do something for their dreams to be realized.