Monday, August 10, 2009

Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia is truly a wonderful film—the casting was amazing, the story inspiring, and at several points throughout the movie it seemed that the scent of buttery, rich food sizzled off the screen and filled the theater. The film presents the stories of two individuals: Julia Child (the woman who mastered French cooking in the 1950s and made it accessible to Americans) and Julie Powell (a woman of the twenty-first century who cooks and blogs her way through Child’s famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking).

Meryl Streep is perfection as Julia Child. The spirit of the woman who food lovers across America owe so much is honored in Streep’s impeccable performance. Julia is portrayed as an outgoing, everyday woman whose large heart fits her stature, who can tame the French’s seeming disregard for Americans, who adores her husband, and who simply loves food. Amy Adams does an excellent job as Julie Powell, who is a frustrated thirty-year old living in a tiny apartment and working in a cubicle, with only food and her husband to turn to for support. Food is inspiration for both Julie and Julia, and the both undertake massive projects, which become the focal points of their lives even as they are discouraged by others. After being trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, it takes Julia Child over eight years to simply finish writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and still the publishers reject it. Julie Powell faces issues at work, with her husband, and several meltdowns as she pushes herself to finish just one task in her life.

Interestingly, it is not food that is at the core of this film though it plays a monumental role in the lives of both Julie and Julia. Food brings them pleasure and gives them each a sense of purpose. However, it is not necessarily a desire to cook or turn to food for inspiration that one leaves the movie with—it is more of a sense that one should pursue whatever she loves in life, not for an end result, but simply for the act of experiencing it. Despite any obstacles or discouragement and without knowing if recognition will ever occur, at the root of Julie & Julia is the encouragement to pursue love and joy in life—to do what you love and surround yourself with the people that love and support you. And to share your joy through it all. Both Julie and Julia could not have imagined what was at the end of their seemingly impossible tasks, but they persisted anyways.

If you love to paint—simply keep painting regardless of if an art critic ever reviews your work or a piece ever sells. If you love to write—simply keep writing even if no one else ever reads your words. And if you love to cook, just keep cooking. In all that you do everyday, let the world inspire you and look for the joy in life, like Julia, in a smile, a sunny day, or a stick of butter…

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