Thursday, August 27, 2009

Time on Julie & Julia

I read a thoughtful review of the movie "Julie & Julia" in Time magazine the other night. The review was written by Mary Pols. The writer was somewhat harsh to writers of lesser talents, but true and honest. She was describing the abilities of Julie Powell, as well as the movie's portrayal of her as driven by the desire to compete with her friends and obtain recognition, as compared with the success of Julia Child, which was driven by her inner fountain of talent and joy in what she did. Ms. Pols writes: "There are memoirists like Child who write about what made them famous, or infamous. There are unremarkable people who write about a remarkable thing that happened to them. And then there is the 21st century memoirist, who makes him- or herself interesting in order to write about it, usually through a time-centric gimmick, like spending a few months at, say, an ashram." Ouch! Has anyone read Julie Powell's book and felt the same? Or perhaps, Elizabeth Gilbert's book?

7 comments:

  1. It's hard to judge two different lifestyles, and two different decades. I saw Julie on Martha Steward's show back a few years ago. She was charming and at ease with her experiment; that's all it was. It became successful because of blogging.

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  2. Haven't read Julie Powell's book. And yes, she was motivated by an unease with how successful her friends all were and how she'd abandoned her dream of writing. And yes, she was really pretty full of herself and her status as popular blogger and not very considerate of her adorable husband, all of which made her seem more than a bit bratty in the firm and a great contrast to the character of Julia Child, who was driven by pure love of food and the desire to make French cooking techniques accessible to American women. She was also modest, kind-hearted, hard-working and madly in love with her husband from what I can tell. Is Julie Powell a good writer? I don't know. Haven't read her. Am not particularly moved to. But I thought Liz Gilbert had some interesting things to say and described some interesting people. What's wrong with that?

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  3. oops....... film, not firm. I must have slipped back into my lawyer mentality for a mis-spelling.

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  4. I've just picked up Julie & Julia and also My Life in France. I'll let you know what I think once I've finished them. I actually enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love.

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  5. Ok. . . now I've read Julie Powell's book. I have Julia Child's My Life in France but haven't started it. I must say that I found Julie a teensy bit annoying in the movie, but quite annoying in her book. There was hardly anything about Julia Child interspersed, something that made the film so delightful. In the book, Julie's motivation seemed more a desire to promote herself than a need to find a niche with successful friends. The lunch, so pivotal to her motivation in the film, didn't happen in the book. Interesting.

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