Julie and Julia
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It’s open for debate if this is actually interesting but I’m posting it anyway.
I saw Julie and Julia a few months ago (I think my father is pleased with his Christmas gift of a few years back when he gave me a copy of the two-volume set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking that he found in a used book store, he’s feeling very ahead of his time now that it’s trendy) and I liked it, it was a good movie. But there was one thing that bugged me a little bit.
I felt like the implication in the movie was that both Julie Powell and Julia Child started their projects as a substitute for what they really wanted: Julie Powell because she didn’t have a career and Julia Child because she wasn’t able to have children.
I got that impression from two scenes in the movie — the Julie Powell scene where she’s at lunch with her college friends and everyone is talking about their jobs, real estate deals, etc., and the Julia Child scene where she gets the letter from her sister announcing her pregnancy and says, “Oh, I’m so happy,” and starts crying.
Maybe I was reading too much into it — and I know it’s a Hollywood movie and Hollywood needs to accentuate the drama — but still I wondered about it.
So the next time I was at the library, I looked for the books on which the movie was based. Julie Powell’s book was checked out, but My Life in France was there, so I’ve been reading that, to see if Julia Child really was so torn up about not being able to have children that she decided to become a world-famous chef and cookbook writer instead.
So, for the record, here is what Julia Child says in My Life in France about having children. (This is in the context of a discussion of Paul’s troubles with amoebic dystentary as well as her own bouts of digestive distress.)
But when I continued to feel suddenly sick and gaseous, I declared: “Aha, pregnant at last!”
We had tried. But for some reason our efforts didn’t take. It was sad but we didn’t spend too much time thinking about it and never considered adoption. It was just one of those things. We were living very full lives. I was cooking all the time and making plans for a career in gastronomy. Paul — after all his years as a tutor and schoolteacher — said that he’d already spent enough time with adolescents to last him a lifetime. So it was.”
I guess “We were living very full lives” and “So it was” isn’t sufficiently dramatic for contemporary America, a little sobbing was needed.
Anyway, that’s it for the movie reviews. Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.