Last night I was too exhausted to even read, so I quickly ran through my movie collection search of something light, yet not entirely insipid, and found my tried-and-true copy of Julie & Julia. I saw the movie when it first came out, with all of the critics still abuzz over Meryl Streep’s performance and the very Nora Ephron-ness of the film. I liked it, but I wasn’t in love with it. I remembered it as being a little slow, and remembered being far more interested in the half of the movie dealing with Julia Childs than the half with Just Plain Julie in New York City.
Perfect, thought the me-of-last-night. I”ll watch an hour and then head to bed.
The movie is perfect for late Bar preparation stress. It walks the fine line between fuzzy, pointless rom com (see The Proposal, or Two Weeks Notice — both movies which I like, but which are nothing more than traditional rom com fare) and fluffy, feel-good friendship piece (a little more When Harry Met Sally). Granted, it left me hungry for some really good french food, but it was also the perfect pacing to spread out over a pair of nights and unwind to.
It provides an interesting dichotomy of a pair of women who are wandering through life, unsure of what they really want (or, in Julia’s case, incapable of having it). As the movie progresses, both of them discover a love for their work, and settle into a career — cooking, for the inimitable Ms. Childs, of course, and a renewed love of writing for Ms. Julie in Queens. Though their lives appear at first glance to be divergent, they provide nearly perfect foils. Julia lives in France, in the peaceful countryside just outside Paris — Julie in the not-so-peacefulness of Queens, just outside of New York. Neither of them are quite in the city. They both have the most supportive and adorable husbands of all time. They are both childless.
You tell me which is more adorable, because I can’t decide.
Watching it again now, I’m torn with which storyline I enjoy more. On the one hand, it is endless fun to watch Streep exude all of Julia’s exuberance, charm, and distinctive voice. On the other, I finally, for the first time, understand Julie’s endless ennui and formless desire for something more (and, you know, I’ve started keeping a blog). In the end, though, Julia always wins — because she remains optimistic and enthusiastic, even though she can never have a child, whereas 30-year old Julie eventually just becomes a bit of a drag with her “woe is me attitude.”
I mean, seriously, girl. You’ve got 900 square feet and you’re married to Chris Messina. Life’s pretty good.