Dad decided over Easter weekend that family night would consist of the movie Julie & Julia. He thought Mom and I would like it. I was skeptical at first, but he seemed super into it; so we watched it. The movie paralleled the lives of Julie Powell, a government worker who lives on top of a Pizzeria in Queens with her husband, and Julia Child, the woman who revolutionized the art of French cooking for the American housewife. Julie Powell decided to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook by way of a blog—365 days and 524 recipes
Julia Child’s life in the 1960s mirrors the life of Julie Powell in 2002. I am drawn in because Julia Child’s struggles and successes are paralleled with Julie Powell’s. Julia and Julie are both supported by strong and confident men. In fact, their husbands are the ones that encourage them to pursue what in turn makes them famous. Their husbands want what is best for their wives at any cost without sacrificing their manliness. Julie and her husband have an argument at the same time (in the film) as Julia and her husband have a misunderstanding, but both men see the success of their wives to be a priority.
Julia and Julie, prior to cooking, had never finished anything in their lives. They were serial starters and Julia, having just moved to France, tries hat making and amateur cooking for just women. She was not satisfied. She wanted more; she wanted to be challenged. Julie, living day-to-day with a government job, grows tired of the monotony of her life. There is nothing that she is passionate about until she realizes that she could take on Julia Child’s recipes. Both women find peace and solitude in cooking. They, essentially, find themselves in the completion of their task.
The women battle stereotypes and preconceived notions of their roles. Julia breaks into a scene where only men took cooking seriously and only men could be the best. Julia is not intimidated by the male-dominated arena. Julie, on the other hand, is taking a step back, according to feminists. She is going from the work force to the kitchen when all of her friends (all of whom represent the “new” woman who can have it all—a career and a family) are at lunch discussing their extensive business successes. Her friends have “traded up” in the eyes of the feminists. Julie is not less of a 20th century woman because she takes to the stove instead of the boardroom. She has found herself in the kitchen with the help and love of a good man. Now isn’t there something refreshing about that? Talk about real empowerment: finding something that makes you happy and pursuing it with your whole heart…