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?

  • Miss Bouquet

    I saw it at the cinema and have since bought it on DVD. I *heart* this film! I really related to both Julie and Julia. It would have been more satisfying for them to have met and to have had a happy ending but I think the fact they didn’t made it all the more real. I agree with you, it is definately a must see for all bloggers!

  • Robert McIntosh

    I’m not saying I wanted them to meet for a happy ending. I just cannot fathom that she got this level of profile at the time and didn’t try to meet her inspiration, despite the potential of being rejected. Surely one would? Quite happy it was no sappy, fake ending, but still, I wondered at the person in question. How much was she thinking, rather than just being a writer with a penchant for following recipes? (is that too harsh?)

  • Zev Robinson

    Interesting comments from a blogger’s point of view. I thought it was an enjoyable and interesting film, if somewhat light. I would guess that the reality, especially for Julie, was somewhat different, and a film that aims at being entertaining is going to pick and choose, gloss over certain things, dramatize others. Plenty of other details could also be examined.But what I liked was the parallel lives, cooking and writing in different contexts and eras. I was just editing interviews with Miguel Torres and Ryan Opaz yesterday that coincidentally were on one tape, and it reminded me of the movie, both sharp, astute and conscientious, but from different eras and generations. And Meryl Streep is in a class by herself.

  • Robert McIntosh

    Yes, I realise it is like watching Sideways and criticising their tasting techniques. It is meant to be entertainment, but based on reality. The problem for me is that this presentation BECOMES reality (“It is like that, I saw it in a film!”) and then the perception of blogging becomes distorted. Anyway, these questions are simply to demonstrate how I reacted to the film, they are not intended as a proper review :)I wonder, has anyone made a film that more accurately depicts the life and activities of a blogger?

  • Zev Robinson

    I don’t disagree with you’re comments, but don’t see it as a serious look at blogging, cooking, or much else in the Julie part. I’m not a blogger, but having lived in NY, I would guess it takes a quite a few liberties with the reality it is based on, including life in NY, Julie’s personal and family relationships, and work situation, all treated in a light hearted way. She works in a stressful job, takes the crowded subway home, (shops for food?), cooks a great meal every night, then blogs about it, with a patient, supportive partner (except for one blow out). I think HItchcock called it suspension of disbelief.

  • Miss Bouquet

    I agree Zev, I think its about people achieving their goals, both Julie and Julia manage to achieve theirs through different means. Its just that Julie managed to achieve hers (becoming a published author) by blogging. A means to an end, no more.

  • Zev Robinson

    Memory’s a bit vague, but didn’t she start the blog as something to do, not to get published per se? Rob’s comment about it taking place in 2002 has to be remember too. Before twitter and FB and the rest.What I liked is how slowly but surely you can do something via quality, consistency and persistence. Ryan Opaz said much the same in his interview. Started blogging just to keep current with developments, one thing led to another, got some followers, then got some work, and before you know it, we have the mighty catavino and the mighty EWBC. Quality, hard work, and building a community. Rob – my doc on bloggers (as opposed to just blogging) should be out early 2011. I await your critique.

  • Miss Bouquet

    Julie’s a writer who can’t get a writing job… blogging gets her there although it’s not the reason she takes on the cooking challenge!

  • Zev Robinson

    I stand corrected 🙂 In a sense, that’s why we’re all on the web, it gives us a voice or platform that otherwise would be denied us.