Boy was I ever wrong!
This was a great movie about writing. It's a study in comparisons and contrasts about Julia Child in post-war Paris, struggling to figure out her identity and what she wanted to do with her life, and Julie Powell, a temp employee in post- 9/11 New York City, struggling to figure out her identity and what she wanted to do with her life.
Julia attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school and then taught French cooking to American women. Later she joined forces with two other women to write a French cookbook for Americans. In the movie we see her struggle to complete the book and then get it published. In the scene where she boxes up her manuscript to send it off to a New York publisher, I felt every emotion she felt too.
Julie graduated from Amherst with a degree in theater and creative writing. Her one attempt at a novel was rejected and in the movie she declared you weren't a writer if no one published your book. The Julie/Julia Project was a blog where she chronicled her effort to cook all 524 recipes in Child's cookbook in 325 days.
The movie's dialogue is brilliant and filled with innuendo that makes the task of boning a duck both a culinary coup and a dirty joke. Some of you will remember Dan Ackroyd's famous Julia Child skit on SNL, and that skit appears in the film.
Mostly, it's a movie about persistence. When Julia Child receives a letter telling her a prospective publisher is declining to go ahead with her book, she reacts with, "Eight years of my life. It just turned out to be something to do, so I wouldn't have nothing to do. Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"
She was obviously heartbroken but she was also part of the Depression and World War II era and simply met bad times straight on. And like the writers we all know, she took her book seriously and was hurt when passed over for publication and then later for awards.
When Julie Powell learned that Julia didn't like her blog and thought she wasn't being serious in her cooking attempt, she had a meltdown too. But she picked herself up, dusted herself off and cooked the rest of the recipes by her one-year deadline.
In case you aren't familiar with Julia Child, here's a short clip of her explaining about chickens. The voice is for real and she was as imposing a figure in real life as she appears on screen -- six feet, two inches tall.
Have you seen the movie yet? Do you share my enthusiasm? What's your dream and are you working toward it?