We finally made it to see “Julie & Julia” last week. Of course I had been reading about it for months and was so excited to see it; J knew nothing about the film and therefore had no expectations whatsoever. I did, however, show him a few brief clips of the real Julia Child on YouTube so that he’d know what the real woman was like.
I liked it, but overall I have to agree with what I’ve read in countless reviews– the Julia parts were much stronger than the Julie parts. Julia was accompanied by a lovely, romantic French backdrop, and was herself very compelling– a woman with a strong personality trying to find herself. The Julie parts sort of made me feel… uncomfortable. It was clear that she didn’t like her job or her friends, and I wasn’t sure whether she even liked herself. And I didn’t like her apparent motivation for starting a blog– she seemed to be jealous of the attention her friend’s blog was getting, and she wanted some attention too. She didn’t seem to do it because she thought it would be fun or somehow fulfilling for her, regardless of whether people read it or not. (I haven’t read her blog or her book, so there probably were other motivating factors. I’m just going off what I got from the film). I found the character of her husband much more likable that Julie herself, and in the scene where they argue and she yells at him, “Stop looking on the bright side all the time!” I thought seriously, who says that? Maybe it’s because I myself tend to be an optimist, but I thought she was being quite unfair. And bratty. Also, I thought the movie could have used a more realistic representation of the amount of weight she and her husband must have put on after eating that way for a year ;-).
But Julia was fun. I need to learn to be more like her in the kitchen. Maybe not to use quite so much butter, but to follow her advice to NEVER apologize for your cooking. I like that. One Julia scene that particularly struck me (that has nothing to do with food) was right after her sister arrived and the three of them were sitting in the cafe together. Julia and her sister were talking loudly, laughing at nothing in particular, being decidedly un-French but not caring at all, and Julia’s husband sat across the table, regarding them fondly, not a party to their sisterly jokes but still engaged in the conversation, rather than trying to quiet them down. Julia’s husband Paul was portrayed as a good guy throughout the whole film, but that moment in particular made me think, “What a good man.” It reminded me of how lucky I am to have a man who is the same way– he allows me and my sister to be sisters, no matter how loud and ridiculous we might be. 😉 I felt it was a scene that clearly yet subtly portrayed the relationships between the characters, and it left me feeling warm and fuzzy about the characters in the Julia half of the film– too bad the same can’t be said for the Julie contingent.