Cooking with Julie and Julia

No post today about Lego.  One my wife’s old school friends is with us for the weekend, so the Lego has been diligently packed away and hidden in the garage again until it’s safe to resume my private geekiness.  Unless I suddenly lose all interest overnight, I expect the boxes will reappear on Monday evening, if not before…

What I’m actually blogging about now is the film we went to see this afternoon.  Now, being in the middle of the countryside, our nearest cinema isn’t exactly on our doorstep.  In fact, Cineworld in Yeovil is a good 40 minute drive away (albeit along beautiful country lanes).  The film in question was “Julie & Julia”, a film based on two true stories, one of a prestigious cook from the 50s and one of a modern day blogger who finds purpose in life through cooking.  Yes, this is a film review.  Read on if you’ve already seen the film, or if you have no intention of seeing the film but want to know what happens, or if you are planning on seeing the film but don’t mind knowing beforehand what happens.

For a film dealing with two parallel timelines, constantly swapping between the two, I think it pulled it off very successfully.  It was all filmed in the same style, but they managed to make it just clear enough which era we were in at each point; it provided enough separation that we didn’t get confused, yet enough connections and parallels to keep it relevant.  Meryl Streep’s accent was, so I hear, very accurate to the original Julia Child’s, but I actually found it the most annoying part of the film – hats off to her for pulling it off, I just wish it hadn’t been so squeeky.

The portrayal of relationships was interesting, I thought.  Both Julie and Julia had what can only be described (in cinematic terms, at least) as near-perfect husbands.  Or, to be a little more fair, near-perfect relationships with their husbands.  It was refreshing to see loving, successful relationships in a way that wasn’t trite or unrealistic.  That’s not to say they didn’t ever have disagreements, but the love never fell apart despite what they went through.  I thought it added an interesting dimension to the drama – our conditioned eyes were all expecting everything to fall apart, and the fact that it didn’t probably will have disappointed some critics, but to me it made it more believeable.

Another aspect of the plot revolves around blogging.  In the modern-day part of the plot, Julie works her way through Julia’s cook book, one recipe at a time, all in the space of a year, and writes a blog about the whole experience.  To begin with no one reads it, only her mother, who doesn’t understand why she’s doing it.  But eventually it gathers momentum and she gets lots of readers following her adventure.  It raises an interesting facet of the blogging world – just because you’re writing doesn’t mean anyone will take any notice of you.  And once people do start taking note of your opinions, you then feel an obligation to these strangers to keep on writing.  I think it’s a shame really that at the end of Julie’s adventure the blog loses its purpose and probably stopped being written.  To my mind, if a blog is directly related to a particular time frame it is almost invariably doomed to fizzle out once the content stops being written.  There are very few people who would find a blog that hadn’t been updated in months (or years) and read it through from beginning to end.  Blogs are read one post at a time, starting with the most recent one and usually disregarding anything older and just waiting for the next post to be published.  I guess that’s just another illustration of how technology is so often misrepresented in film – on the big screen computers always work faster than in real life and do far more than they are actually capable of!

In conclusion, then, I liked the film.  Not something I’d watch again, necessarily, but it’ll do as something to pass the time.  Certainly not going to go down in history as a fantastic must-see film.  I came out of the cinema not thinking how wonderful an experience I’d had or how beautiful the plot was, but reinvigorated to continue blogging.  I had a similar feeling watching “Marley and Me”, inspired by the writing theme, though that was a much better film altogether.  So if nothing else, I’m more determined to keep writing.  Even if no one reads my ramblings.

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