My sister would destroy me with chiding laughter for this, but I have to admit--I loved the film Julie & Julia. It's an incredibly relaxing film for me to watch as a writer, an epicurean--a boy who grew up watching Great Chefs with his mother while doing his homework. Lydia Bastianich is a saint. But I'll be damned if anyone says her Risotto trumps my own, original recipe.
Anyway why do I love Julie & Julia? It appears, at first glance, to be just a chick flick. The dialogue is weak, the voiceover pathetic and Julie about as irritating and whiny as Holden Caulfield. But the film carries an intelligent discourse on modernity with an incredible performance by Meryl Streep as the illustrious, pickled American-French chef, Julia Child. Anyway I'm a sucker for chick flicks. I enjoy watching the creative quest, undertaken by Julie, unfold and secretly (no more a secret) I root for her to accomplish what she's already accomplished in real life. I enjoy the biopic flashbacks to Julia Child in France and her learning experience while cooking at an under-ripe Le Cordon Bleu. I love food. I love cooking. And I feel for Julie & Julia both in their quest to be published authors, recognized writers. Another, more deep rooted joy I find in the movie, is the discussion of building a home. The environment is crucial to a writer. So the homemaking aspect of this film really gets me--it touches a dream I have. A dream, perhaps, we've all had of a home--the home. A dream I've had for a long time. A dream that's manifested itself even in hallucinogenic trips on varied sudsmachines. It's deep. This film appeals to something deep within me. But I realized a very interesting thing on this, my fifth viewing of Julie & Julia.
The reason Julia Childs' flashback scenes are more fascinating, aside from the reconstruction of an old, romantic Paris is the fact that Julia is mixing it up. The character of Julie is lost, and finds herself through the corpus of Julia Child. Julia Child is lost, so she undertakes an unwritten quest. Two different odysseys reflecting a transmission of information and, more importantly, the technology that comes to define an era.
(here's where it gets post-modern) Julie is hopelessly fixed on blogging her experience, extracting a thin pleasure from every comment she receives and every potential reader. Instant gratification--the dopamine squirt.
Heaven Goes Online
When the sidewalk's eyes were weeping
when snowflakes burst from the pillows
as the mayor talked from the bottlecaps of his ears
& the old women dusted off their beauty marks
when the graffiti artist's hand became a saffron scarf
when the breeze flashed its grilled teeth
& the sun torched the forest to a moon
when sad Amelia pierced the clouds in her veins
when my lips gathered at the beaches of your lips
& my tongue at the on-ramp of your spine
-Poem by Major Jackson
Holding Company 2010 W.W. Norton
-Andrew E. Colarusso