Many of the critics just don't get this film.
A number of women share my view: the $10 we paid was worth it and then some.
Dollar #1: Meryl Streep. Perhaps because it's my birthday this month, I'm feeling like I need to be a grown-up woman -- a real grown-up -- I'm not quite sure how to do this. Meryl Streep seems to.
Dollar #2: Julia Child was in her 30s when she started culinary school. In her 40s when she became a cooking instructor. In her 50s when Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published. Sometimes our dreams take awhile to play out. Repeat after me. Mid 50's -- 20 years.
Dollar #3: Her dream was right there. So close she couldn't see it. Maybe even already a part of her. Hat-making? Playing bridge? Nope. Eat sumptuous food? Experienced writer? Organize voluminous amounts of material? Pay dirt. Many pieces of our dream are already at our fingertips just waiting for us to fit them together.
Dollar #4: Julia Child walking into a class of all men who didn't want her there. "I will slice onions better than any of you." So much steel. "I will not cry. No sir. But maybe you will."
Dollar #5: Judith Jones. We all need a Judith Jones. The person who looks for the 'yes' rather than the 'no'. Who invests in us, who is a see-er of our magnificence.
Dollar #6: Julie Powell was stuck. Committing to document her experiences cooking the 524 recipes in Child's cookbook was a means of becoming unstuck. Something she liked to do. Concrete long-term goal. Daily checklist. Clear timeline. A winning recipe for 'unstuckness'. And achieving a dream.
Dollar #7: Each of us has fears. Boiling a lobster. Eviscerating a duck. Not a big deal to me, but they were to Julie. We need to respect one another's dragons. Then help slay them.
Dollar #8: Watching Julie and Eric make a space for her dream. Eric was pursuing his dream and he encouraged Julie to pursue hers. As her dream took flight, she was not as available as she had been creating conflict. There's give and take, rough and tumble, as spouses grow and develop, learning to saying 'yes' to the relationship, even as we say 'yes' to our dreams.
Dollar #9: When parents aren't as supportive as we need and deserve, if we are going to become our best selves we need to find people who will support us -- biographies and literature can do this for us by proxy remarkably well. In studying Julia Child, Julie came to admire her, to be connected to her. 'Don't be afraid' came to mean so much more than advice about disemboweling a duck. We all need an encouraging voice. Julie found it in Julia Child.
Dollar #10: Julia never met Julia Child, nor Judith Jones. Neither is her accomplishment the stuff of myth. But in undertaking the Julia/Julia project she re-discovered her self and made meaning of her life. In the process, she helped me make meaning of mine.
Did you like Julie/Julia? Do you have a Dollar #11?
Why? Why not?
For another sampling of why critics don't get it, click on Ode to Julie and Julia.
P.S. Thank you to Becka for her shout-out. I am honored; I hope each of you guest-bloggers are as well.