No one can be seriously interested in food or cooking without learning about/from Julia Child. I also think it is damn-near impossible not to love her as a human being, once you know about how she lived her life. Her passion for France, and French food, and her husband were all limitless, and I think many cooks/chefs/women try to see a bit of themselves in Julia. I like to think I feel about Italy and Italian food on a similar spectrum to how Julia felt about the French. (I love French food too, but I always veer toward Italy in my heart.) I hope that I do get to live in Italy some day and that I experience life as fully as Julia did. Don't get me wrong. I don't see myself as the next Italian Julia Child, but it's a nice dream.
If you like Julia Child at all, I would definitely suggest reading "My Life In France" when you get a chance. The book was put together by Paul Child's nephew from conversations and old letters and is a wonderful story and insight into Julia's life and mind.
So last night I finally got to see "Julie & Julia". I had waited to see it in the theaters with my mother, but somehow that never happened, so I Netflix-ed it and waited for the perfect time. Last night, Mike went out to a coworkers birthday shindig, so I curled up in bed with my cats and my Marquis and got ready to enjoy myself.
I knew ever since I heard the whispers than Meryl Streep was going to portray Julia Child that I was going to love the movie. It was just a definite. The thing is, I didn't know just how much I was going to love it. Screw the Amy Adams part. Nothing against her personally, and maybe it was the fact that I was slightly shocked to be watching a character who loved Julia Child, was married, turning 30, and starting a blog... it felt a bit "doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo" but I could care less about that half of the movie. That whole true-story-blogger plot line was just an excuse to make a movie that wasn't a straight biopic. (Which I would totally watch if it were Meryl & Stanley! Hell I'd watch them read the paper together. I just love how they play off each other.)
Anyway, it's hard for me to describe the joy that went through my heart watching Meryl bring Julia to life. Because I had read Julia Child's "My Life In France" I already knew the details of that portion of her life, and could enjoy the fact that the movie was accurate but that some elements were merely inferred gently. I actually had to pause the movie at one point to simply revel in the happiness I was experiencing watching Meryl/Julia savor food and friends, and watch the tender love between her and her husband. (Seriously, listen to the way she said "butter" and you will know a woman who knows pleasure on all levels.) Love and passion both came late in Julia's life, whether it was falling in love or finding what made her happy (which gives me hope on the what-to-do-with-my-life front). But even beyond her love of food I admire Julia Child's ability to see the positive, to persevere, and to just move on when anything didn't go her way. Whether it was her father's politics or her inability to conceive a child, I can only aspire to her ability to shrug things off and enjoy life.
I think maybe that is part of why I love the movie "Auntie Mame" so much and watch it every Christmas. It's about a silly woman who loves people passionately and doesn't believe in prejudices and goes through life with the mantra, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Whenever I get really low I need to remind myself of that. I want to revert to how I had my dorm rooms throughout college. I plastered my walls with quotes I loved from books and movies and mounted them on black poster board. Einstein, Byron, Angelou and Twain giving me advice when I just couldn't think anymore. I think I still have most of them in a bag in a closet somewhere. I just couldn't throw them away, those little connections to my soul.
So I had a bit of my heart and soul restored and rejuvenated this weekend. I may even go back and reread "My Life In France" just to extend my happy feeling. And I am definitely buying Julie & Julia on dvd. (Tho maybe I can just edit out the Julie parts...;) And maybe someone is reading this thinking I am just bonkers. Maybe it is possible for someone to not be moved by Julia Child. But if so, I don't want to know them.