American TV cook extraordinaire Julia Child makes for interesting television. Is she Australian? Is she drunk? If she’s not drunk is she just out of control? Or is she a gem of a TV personality the like we’re unlikely to see again?
Watching her in this clip, it’s difficult to imagine that television will ever be made like this again. I see no edits in this 7 minute sequence. I don’t see something scripted. I see something off-the-cuff. Rehearsed, yes. But off the cuff. Genuine. Authentic. Brilliant television. Oh .. and I’ve learnt how to make an omelette.
Little wonder this gem of 70s TV inspired a real-life 30something to commit to a personal challenge to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook on French cookery …. and blog about the experience too.
The resulting film – based on two true stories – is a maze of smoking mirrors. Art inspires life. Life inspires art. A film made from the story of a blog documenting the path followed cooking your way through a book published 40 years before. Somehow, it’s difficult to imagine a blogger doing the same about the original UK kitchen goddess Delia Smith. No. I’m not about to start.
The joy of the film isn’t that it’s about food. Yes, both me and Significant Other did repeatedly keep thinking about the chicken stew bubbling away in the Crockpot but what resonated more was the sincere treatment of a blogger. Depicted writing in 2002, the Julie character isn’t presented to the audience as some kind of freak. In fact, she’s presented as someone desperate to find improvement on life. Writing – and more important self-publishing – provides that.
“I could be a writer,” squeaks Julie to her strange looking husband. “You already are a writer,” was his response. Add to that the unexpectedly reassuring lines throwing light on the experience of blogging – “I’m just putting it out there” and “I’m not sure whether anyone’s actually reading it” – and it’s not long before writers everywhere start reaching for their keyboards and blogging their love for the film industry finally validating their core passion.
The shame is that they all probably did that months ago. The film was released in 2009. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get around to watching it. God Bless Sky Anytime+ for including it in their current market stall of immediately available films.
When you get around to watching it, see how you marvel at Meryl Streep’s brilliant characterisation of Julia Child. In this film at least, Julia’s relationship with husband Paul is depicted with the warmest, most engaging of tones. A real tonic. This is not in any way a dysfunctional relationship. Quite the opposite, in fact.