After a good morning of worship with God’s People, an afternoon gathering with Patty’s family, and a LONG nap, I found myself capping the day off by taking in a movie with Patty at the Galleria. Our choice: “Julie and Julia” and straight up, I loved it!
I know some of you may be questioning my manhood right now. But seriously, “Julie and Julia” is no a chick flick – it’s a human flick and everyone who is concerned about becoming more authentically human should take a couple of hours and immerse themselves in this film. It is thoroughly entertaining and might even serve as a catalyst for more authentic and passionate living.
Based on Julie Powell’s book “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.” Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul. Julie Powell is 30-years-old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that’s going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents quite the creative assignment. She will take her mother’s dog-eared copy of Julia Child’s 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes – all in the span of one year.
Along with Julie Powell’s story, director and writer Nora Ephron masterfully flashes back and intertwines Julia Child’s (played brilliantly by Meryl Streep) story into the film. Trust me, you don’t need to be a “Lostie” to figure out the flashes back and forward; it is pretty to easy to distinguish between Paris in 1950’s and NYC in the early days of the 21st century.
There are three primary reasons why I loved the film. First off it is all about food. Both my wife and daughter are foodies and my life has been incredibly blessed by their passion for food. They have turned me on to the beauty and wonder of great food. My guess is the Food Channel gets more airtime that any other channel in our household (ok maybe ESPN is first). It’s a sacred moment when a new episode of Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa” shows up. Through my wife and daughter I am now on a first name basis with great chefs like Bobbie Flay, Rick Bayless, Giada De Laurentiis and of course Patty’s hero, Ina. And I have learned that good food facilitates good relationships.
“Julie and Julia” is a film about relationships in general and marriage in particular. I am quick to tell dating couples that I am a raving fan of marriage and “Julie and Julia” was a reminder to me of how adamant I am about that. Both Julie and Julia have strong partners to share the journey of life. Stanley Tucci is brilliant as Julia’s spouse, Paul. He stands by her with encouragement and support. He calls her to dream and to live out her passion in life. He reminds Julia that there are no limits when she follows her true dream. In a poignant scene, Julia asks Paul, “What if you hadn’t fallen in love with me?” and as the film unfolds it is clear that Paul’s deep and abiding love for Julia helps her to become the very person she was created to be. If you know anything about Julia Child, she was indeed a strong woman – but even strong people need supportive and encouraging environment to flourish. In a similar, yet distinctive way reflective of life in the 21st century, Julie Powell and her husband Eric (played by Chris Messina) navigate through the ups and downs of life’s shared journey.
Finally, the film is about passion. Meryl Streep said this about Julia Child, “When you talk about passion, Julia Child didn’t just have it for her husband or for cooking, she had a passion for living. Real, true joie de vivre. She loved being alive and that is an inspiration in and of itself.”
How passionate are you about life? And how does your passion help connect you to others in meaningful, life-giving ways?
As I walked away from “Julie and Julia,” the words of Frederick Buechner echoed in my soul. Buechner described vocation as the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. I think both Julie and Julia discovered theirs. What about you?