I love watching movies. Almost as much as reading books. Movies allow me to escape and lose myself in a world that does not resemble my own. My favourites are those that are mythical and magical. Those that free me from the stress of daily life and allow me to believe, for a brief moment, in magic again.
But every now and then a movie will grab me by the throat and release a flood of emotion. Tonight I watched such a movie. Initially I thought this would be boring but I was so wrong. The movie is called ‘Julie & Julia” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. It’s based on a true story written by Julie Powell who challenged herself to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s book ‘The Art of French Cooking‘ within 365 days. She created a blog and wrote about her experience. This was the first motion picture created based on a blog.
The movie also covers Julia Child’s life which was adapted from the book “My life in France” and chronicles her life and the challenges she faced both as a woman and as a writer looking to get published.
So enough of the background details. Why did this movie affect me so much?
Both women were desperately searching for a purpose. Julia Childs was living in Paris during the 1950s and wanted to do something with her life. She ended up doing a Le Cordon Bleu course to learn about French cooking. This resulted in her collaborating with Simone Beck and together they published “The Art of French Cooking”.
Julia Powell was working an unpleasant job that involved speaking to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy and the subsequent controversial plans to rebuild the Twin Towers, She decided to do something she enjoyed and started the challenge of cooking all of Julia Childs’ recipes. Her blog posts were subsequently published in a book called “Julie and & Julia“.
The movies details the challenges that each woman faced, almost 50 years apart. It was never easy but they kept going. The part that affected me the most was the unbelievable support they both got from their husbands. Each husband encouraged and believed in them. They were constantly encouraging them. Apart from a brief wobble between Julie and her husband, he was always there for her.
As I watched this movie I was overwhelmed by a deep envy. These two woman had what I have been searching for my entire life. A partner that believed and encouraged them. The relationships portrayed in the movie were that of best friends and lovers. They had each other’s back. It was very clear to me that without their husbands, they might not have achieved all they had.
Although the movie did leave me with a deep melancholy it also inspired me. They were both writers and they succeeded in publishing books that became best sellers. Does this mean that as a single woman I cannot achieve the same level of success? No, I don’t think so, but I do believe when you have someone supporting and encouraging you, it does make a difference. I just have to find that support and encouragement elsewhere.
I also happen to like food. A lot. So for Christmas lunch I have challenged myself to make the Beef Bourguignonne, a recipe that is featured in the movie. This is a stew that is slow cooked in a red wine from the Burgundy region. Anyone care to join me for Christmas lunch?
If that works out then I will take on the really interesting task of cooking a Boned Duck in Pastry for New Year’s day which according to Julie Powell was the greatest challenge. I will keep you posted.