Julie, Julia and Me

I watched Julie & Julia last night for the first time. I first heard about it from a good friend @mathildecuisine who also happens to be an excellent food blogger, but I had not got around to watching it.

I have to start by admitting that as a Brit who spent most of his young life in Italy & Mexico, and someone who is not a real “foodie”, the name Julia Child did not mean anything to me but only rang the most distant bells. However, I am now much more interested and love the fact that one person can make such a demonstrable impact on the culture of a country.

I’m not going to review the film but I do suggest you go and watch it though (with some decent nibbles, preferably home-made, and a relaxing bottle of wine). What I want to do is ask some questions or make comments that it inspired concerning the various relationships it presents, and the view of blogging that comes across. Note, these will make much more sense if you have seen the film!

On relationships:

  • There was an interesting contrast, but a little overshadowed: food (and wine) brings people together, but writing about it can separate you from others … Unless you make it interactive (but neither really did, as presented by the film). However, while writing the book was something that helped Julia’s relationship, it felt like the blog was presented as something that negatively affected Julie’s relationships at home and her work. Is that fair?
  • Why did Julie make no effort to meet with Julia? Why accept unreliable word of mouth feedback? Why did no-one try to put them together?
  • Would either Julie or Julia have been able to do what they did if they had kids? Not a major theme, but I wonder. As a blogger who started only AFTER having kids, I think the role of the passionate amateur and how/when they blog is something that ought to be explored more.

On Blogging and how it is presented:

  • I think the well defined theme, and the deadline, made the blog more interesting for readers, but it also makes it more of an experiment, or project, and not a blog as I see them today. I used to have one of those. They do motivate you, but ultimately they have an end. Is that what we want? To give blogs a lifespan, with expiry dates?
  • Julie keeps making references to the increasing number of comments on her blog. Hurrah! But how many did she respond to? Where’s the conversation?
  • We only hear about one other blog in the film and that is spoken about with complete disdain. I know the film is based in 2002, not 2010, but why was Julie not involved with (reading, commenting, promoting, learning from, …) other blogs? What does this film REALLY say about bloggers and their readers? In many ways, she is really still a lone magazine writer with an audience. We don’t see the readers’ perspective.
  • Julie says; “she taught me to cook”, but did she? We only see her making recipes. Where’s the creativity and independence that it could have inspired? Is that cooking?

Just some random thoughts the morning after. I need to check out the book, and I also gather there is a follow-up that might address some of these questions.

Have you seen it? Did you enjoy it? Any lessons you learned that I missed?