Went to see the preview of the new movie Julie & Julia last night thanks to the Sunday Times in the Screen, d’Olier Street and I really enjoyed it. It is an endearing, engaging and funny film. It’s based on two true stories of two women who share a love of cooking. The director, Nora Ephron does an excellent job of intertwining their two lives. Julia Child, played excellently by Meryl Streep, lights up the screen with her bubbly character full of enthusiasm for life. She is a little OTT but this just adds to the character. We meet her in Paris, France in the late forties where her and her newly-wed husband, Paul, a diplomat have just moved for four years. It is here that Julia throws herself into learning Cordon Bleu cooking and discovers a joy and love for cooking at the age of 37. Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, is a government-employee by day and a renegade cook by night. She is searching for her life’s purpose and after appearing in a magazine article, written by one of her best friends, citing her as a failure and an example of a lost generation approaching 30. And so in 2002 she started the julie julia project where she attempted to cook her way through the 536 recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ in one year and blogged about her efforts. The project taught her how to cook but also taught her more about her life. by the end of the year, she had the phone ringing off the hook offering her book deals and so began her new career as a writer.
I think the movie worked well and wasn’t jarring between the two women’s life stories. Of course the more entertaining life story was that of Julia Child, an inspirational woman with a larger-than-life character – she was six foot two and her character appeared to mirror her stature. It took her eight years to co-write and get her cookbook to publication – her life’s work. She fell in love with Paris and French cooking and even though she only spent four years there it was for her life-changing. She inspired and continues to inspire women with her infectious approach to French cooking. As for Julie Powell, I wasn’t so enthralled or inspired by her but without her most of us wouldn’t have heard about Julia Child so I thank her for sharing her story. Julie came across as a self-obsessed, fame-hungry woman. Perhaps I am being too harsh but it made me question our lost generation consistently searching for something. Maybe with the likes of reality TV like Big Brother and the X-Factor, we are all looking for the easy way to make it big – the overnight success. Not that I’m begrudging their successes but sometimes it feels it’s more about the glory than the art. Julie was close to turning 30, was jealous of her high-powered friends who considered her a failure and was disillusioned with her life. The blog was her way to turn her life around and it consumed her for the year. She started talking about her fans and readers and it even went so far as affecting her marriage to Eric, who appeared to be the sweetest man ever. It could be that my vision of her was already skewed after reading an article in Saturday’s Irish Independent about her second book – another darker memoir. I do think she is brave to share her life with strangers and admire her dedication to the project. Would recommend this film as a must see and I expect a resurgence in booksales for both Julie Powell and Julia Child.