Julia Child, Novelist

I’m a sucker for movies about the creative process. You know the scene in “Ratatouille” in which a bite of food whisks the bitter food critic back to his childhood ? The ability of art to transport is one of the major reasons I consume and create it.

Last night I watched “Julie and Julia,” a movie about the woman without whom “Ratatouille” probably wouldn’t exist. I thought “Julie and Julia” was going to be about cooking. In fact, it told the story of two women’s roads to becoming published authors.

I was disappointed. Cooking has its own drama. The final scene of “Big Night,” in which two brothers cook eggs, comes to mind. My favorite parts of “Julie and Julia” were brief views of mushrooms being browned, cream being poured. But the movie doesn’t exploit the drama of cooking, as it could have.

I’d much rather watch someone cook on film than write (or talk about how they want to be published). Let’s face it, watching someone type is boring. That’s why we have no reality shows featuring aspiring novelists battling it out, and why some of the best movies about writers have writer’s block as a prominent theme (“Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Sideways”) or are about hunting down a scandal (“All the President’s Men”).

Julia’s half of the story was more compelling, for a lot of reasons. Julia Child vs. Julie Powell, Meryl Streep vs. Amy Adams (as cute as she is), Stanley Tucci vs. whoever that guy was, Paris vs. New York, fifties fashion vs. aughts fashion. But also, just the fact that, although we know Julia’s book will be published, there’s drama in watching Julia Child become the woman who would transform American culinary culture. I didn’t really care whether Julie transformed from blog writer to published author. So many people are trying to do that.

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2 thoughts on “Julia Child, Novelist

  1. Lynn

    Hi Eman.

    I’m compelled to write after reading about your take on this movie. I liked Julie & Julia, but I agree with some of your complaints, and I do think that Big Night is a superior film. As a former professional cook and new food blogger, I felt compelled to comment on this post.

    I thought Julie & Julia was ultimately a love story, and should be judged as such. First and foremost, it examined the love between Paul and Julia Child. If only more of the movie was devoted to this — I could spend a hours watching Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. The film also examined the love between Julie and what’s-his-name (though I really liked what’s-his-name in the movie) and Julie’s love for her sort-of-mentor, Julia. A love story on many levels.

    Best movie ever? No. But good.

    Does every food blogger (myself included) what a book deal? Sure. Who wouldn’t? But most people don’t expect that to happen. I certainly don’t. What’s happened for me in the week since blogging: a reawakening of my creative side. That’s a wonderful thing.

    Best wishes,
    Lynn

    Reply
    1. equotah Post author

      That’s a nice way to look at it — love story. And I agree, Meryl and Stanley were delicious.

      Glad I know about your blog now! Your lettuce looks scrumptious.

      Reply

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