Julie & Julia: A Cooking AND Writing Life

I just got home from seeing Julie and Julia. I LOVED this movie. I have to say, until a few years ago, I was not a Meryl Streep fan, but I am SO glad she started doing comedy. Amy Adams was fantastic, and–well–I’ll watch Stanley Tucci in just about anything. I had seen previews and heard friends talk about the movie, and it lived up to all my expectations.

And it surprised me.

Because nobody told me about the writing/publishing thread. In which, I may say, there are many lessons to be learned.

By a writer’s FAMILY.

Here are the things I think the members of a writer’s family or, frankly, anyone in their support-system should take away from this film. (Perhaps MINOR spoilers involved.)

  • Always tell the writer that their book is important, a work of genius, and that it will “change the world.” I don’t care if their book is a novel, a cookbook, or a dictionary.
  • Support the writer in any and all research they must do to write their book–everything from buying MORE books to traveling to Chicago (Thanks, Honey!) to participating in the mass slaughter of several large lobsters.
  • Be polite, tactful, and respectful as the writer works toward publication. Recognize the moment, however, when it is not only appropriate but OBLIGATORY to swear forcefully, in response to a rejection letter.
  • Learn the dance of joy, and be prepared to perform it, in tandem, with energy and enthusiasm–if necessary, in public.
  • Do the dishes.

I think this is an important movie for us ALL to take our family to. Tonight, the theater population was at least 90% women. My husband and son were kind enough to join me for my birthday outing, and they were laughing and smiling right along with me.

They were also, I’m sure, taking copious notes.

In all seriousness, go. The movie, even without the agonies and joys of Julia’s publishing path, would have been delightful. With them, it was a reminder of how hard we all have to work to “get there,” and how worthwhile it is that we are doing so.


  1. We are really looking forward to seeing this one. Love the idea of lessons for the family. Often we will be watching a movie with a writer in it and Erik will turn to me and say something like, “I’ve seen you do that!!!”


  2. jama says:

    Oh, I’m dying to see this one! (and read the book). Love your list for families of writers. Yes!!


  3. I loved this movie, too and also was surprised by the writing thread which I hadn’t heard about. Afterwards my friend, not a writer, said she heard me laughing at things she knew: oh that must be a writer thing.

    We both commented that we thought our husbands would have enjoyed it.

    thanks for putting it all so well — I thought I should blog about it, but now I don’t have to!


    • beckylevine says:

      I think I was pretty loud during the writing/pub stuff–it was SO familiar–I was probably laughing (and wincing) more noisily than I should.

      Husband loved it. Son liked it a lot, at the very least.


  4. Jenn Hubbard says:

    I would like to see this–but I get to see so few movies! It’s on my mental list, though.


    • beckylevine says:

      If you can’t make it to the theater, it’ll work great on DVD, too. Try and see it somehow–it’s wonderful.


  5. I was planning to see this with a friend when my husband is out of town, but now . . . maybe I need to take him with me! Thanks for the insights. I love to see a writer’s struggle toward publication, especially when she’s successful!


  6. P. J. Hoover says:

    Oh, I must take my family! Wait – can I bring my kids?


    • beckylevine says:

      There was nothing a kid “couldn’t” see–just a couple of scenes with pretty strong cuddles, then cut-aways. I forget how old your kids are, though–my 13 year old liked it a lot.


  7. Kelly Fineman says:

    Wow – love your lessons for writer’s families. Brilliant post, Becky!


  8. Linda Covella says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing this–it covers two things I love: writing and cooking (oh, and eating) 🙂 I’ve always loved Meryl Streep and can’t wait to see her in this. I haven’t read Julie’s book, but read Julia’s autobiography and loved it.


  9. beth says:

    Doing the dishes is the *best* one on the list!!! 🙂 Can’t wait to see this movie.


    • beckylevine says:

      And it’s a lovely little moment in the movie–subtle enough to almost miss. Go see it–you’ll love it.


  10. Lisa Stone says:

    Yes I ca’t wait to see this movie, love Meryl Streep.


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