A couple of weeks ago AZ and I saw Julie & Julia. I’d listened to the audiobook a couple of years ago on a road trip. It was only so-so. Nora Ephron’s film efforts in the last few years have also been inconsistent so I cautiously awaited reviews and was finally lured to the theater by Meryl Streep and the prospect of some visually stunning meals.
Turns out, it was a pretty cute movie. Way better than the book, for which Julie Powell should be thanking her lucky whisks. Nora did a great job weaving together the lives of these two very different women. Julie is a neurotic, narcissistic, petulant whiner (clearly, I’m not a fan), but is, trust me, waaaaaaaay worse in the book. She tries to throw in these bits of wisdom toward the ends of some of the chapters that are neither wise nor insightful and that even the most oblivious dullard could see coming for miles. Julia, on the other hand, blithely barrels her way through life in various countries, honestly seeking her passion and finds it in the kitchen, and does so unapologetically with the support of a loving and doting husband.
So many “romantic comedies” pit the women against the men in the roles of protagonist and antagonist, respectively. Here’s what I love about this movie: the women succeed because of their men, and not in spite of it. This is not to say that they couldn’t have succeeded otherwise. It is to say that the success was the product of a team effort and not of an adversarial relationship.
There are many, many good men out there. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that successful relationships come out of a mutual support and desire for the other to succeed, not out of a constant battle for domination. Julie & Julia is about two women but more importantly it’s about two marriages, both of which had their ups and downs but were rooted in love. This makes me all the more disgusted w/ Ms. Powell because her next book is apparently about the AFFAIR she had after the first book. Really? If anyone ever had their doubts about her tendency toward self-destruction, you need look no further.