4 Stars - Wholesome
The joy of life is found in the simple pleasures: a loving relationship, a delicious meal, a shared life. Though we all know this intellectually, it is wonderful to see our artists portray why this is true in a film like “Julie and Julia.” Based on the true story of two persons who had far more in common than their names, director and screenwriter Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail) serves us a satisfying feast. Using two autobiographical books by Julie Powell and Julia Childs, Ephron captures their spirits in both the screenplay and the casting. Julia Child’s story takes place in the early 1950’s, and Julie Powell’s story takes a similar path in 2002.
Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is a young woman living in Queens with her kind and thoughtful husband Eric (Chris Messina). Residing in a small apartment above a Pizza place, Julie is a frustrated writer. Painfully discouraged with her office employment, Eric recommends that she write a blog on the Internet. Together they decide she will blog her experience of attempting all 524 recipes Julia Childs provides in her best-selling cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She decides to do so in 365 days.
Julia Childs (Meryl Streep) is in a similar position in life when her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) is stationed in Paris working at the American embassy. Realizing that what she enjoyed most in life is eating, and especially French cuisine, she decides to become a French chef. Attending a prestigious school she finds her passion is not only cooking but teaching Americans to cook.
The film blends together the larger-than-life personality of Julia with the sincerity of Julie as the film oscillates between their lives. The result is an amusing and endearing mix, and a feast for your eyes and appetite.
As portrayed in this film, they are both blest with amazingly supportive, insightful, kind and patient husbands. Julia’s husband truly adores her and is able to express his support in a multitude of ways. This is brought into focus when the early rejection letters from possible publishers devastates her. Paul lifts her spirit and helps her find her literary and later televised place. Julie’s husband Eric does the same for her. With a playful optimism that lifts their wives’ spirits, the love and authentic care in both marriages are a wonderful example of shared life in a committed union.
Finding and living our passion is important in discovering the joy of life. But that passion must be shared with others in mutual respect and support in order for it to truly bring the happiness we are all pursuing. This truth is a recipe worth trying in all our homes.
Discussion for those who have seen the film:
Have you discovered and are living your passion? If you are, who is sharing your joy with you? If you are not, how can those you love help you discover what it is?
The pleasure of food is something for which our bodies are created. However some look down on this pleasure and assert that you should not “eat for pleasure.” Do you believe this? Why or why not?
The complementary nature of Julie and Julia’s lives is obvious in the film. Do you believe this was true in the real lives of these two women or a screenwriter’s fantasy?