Julie & Julia… and David

I watched this movie today, Julie & Julia.  Got somewhat good ratings, featured Meryl Streep, an actress I semi-like. Meryl Streep is someone I would like to admire and respect for having class, maturity, and talent, but every single time I see her perform on screen, whether it be as the Devil who wears prada, the prudent Catholic school nun haunted by Doubt, or an author with a secret, always has this 1% of lack that leaves me applauding yet wishing I could be more genuine in doing so.

Julie & Julia had two women–Julie and Julia, of course–who talk smartly girly.  Everything they had to say, intended/unintended, had precision and wit, in a way that if a guy spoke like it, he would be categorized flamboyant (gah.. categories!). and YES, thats what I felt like watching it: smart and girly.

Eh. Not writing to critique the movie, but about my feelings toward Julie, a character Julie, a 29-year-old turned 30, going through this phase of worthlessness in life, a worthlessness not in style of deep reflection or depression but a worthlessness in a very normal way.  She’s bored with her mundane job, her ugly kitchen, and her lack of opportunities.  It becomes apparent when she’s just complaining to her husband about the new apartment and when she wallows in insecurity when her girlfriends are complaining–when they’re really bragging–about their corporate jobs, etc.  I was just annoyed with her character a quarter of the way into the movie, and the feeling was never relieved through the end of the movie.  She was so whiny and frustrated and self-absorbed… and then she makes up this imaginary relationship with Julia Child (Meryl Streep),who in 1949 published a cook book, and eventually gets “saved” through cooking.  Her husband more annoyingly assured her, “No, you saved yourself!”

I guess what irritated me about it all was that she was so normal.
She wasn’t a villain. She wasn’t caricatured.  She wasn’t a stereotype.  She was a normal city girl, a daughter with a nagging mother, probably an A- idealist in college, who probably tried to put her writing to use, who then in her 20s probably didn’t get the job she wanted.  She’s someone that everyone can identify with.. heh that I can identify with. HA! There it is. I’m really annoyed with Mr. jungpaO chicken.  I complain. I whine. I am self-absorbed.  all of which my good friend pointed out as “just plain disgusting.”  and no this isn’t humility because I say it with flare and discontentment instead of mourn.

Doesn’t everybody want to have that one thing they can be good at?
I don’t think people usually want to be a master of all trades.. a Renaissance man. Usually, it’s one talent, such as the guitar, basketball, cooking, or that one character, such as being a good friend.. a good parent, humor, logicality, being a deep thinker, being honest, etc.  For Julie, it was cooking and writing.  For me, it was dance and being a good Christian.  And really isn’t this what our education system is designed for us to do?  Up till college, we are forced to develop our skills in the basic several: math, english, science, sports, arts, etc.  Then college is all about picking the right major that you can feel confident about and do that for the rest of your life.
And usually.. usually.. it’s only when other people recognize the person for this one thing.. does the person feel confident and content.  People–and oh how I am involving myself in this despicable category–love to be labeled as “that guy who plays music real well,” “that girl who is so cheerful,” “that guy who is a ‘cool nerd,'” “that girl who can make really good cookies,” “that guy who is so mysterious.”

I’ve been reading Tim Keller’s book over again, and from what I inferred and applied is that this is a way of finding our identity.  If we make this one talent/that one gift into an ultimate thing… that’s who and all that we become.
You’re a good student?  That’s all that you are, a student.  You’re so good at basketball?  That’s all who you are, a basketball player.  You’re so good at logic and thinking?  That’s all that you are.. a thinker.. doesn’t have an effect on anyone whatsoever.  For Julie, she became a good cook and a good writer.  But her role as a daughter.. as a wife.. was mediocre at best and worse.. not cherished for its worth.  She.. in all her girlish ways.. was so normal…! gah! i’m stilled annoyed at it. What if her tongue stopped functioning, and she lost her sense of taste? hahahahaha it’s over!  and death? then everything’s over.  forget anything that you built for yourself.

I didn’t intend to bring God into this post, but this post has cornered me into it… eh, a lot of my co/self-conversations do.
This.. all in all.. is idolatry.. I guess it’s something I’ve been learning and not applying lately. Romans 1:23.. when we exchange the glory of God for that one field of expertise.. that one talent.. that one gift.. and that becomes our god.. and the result? that’s what we become.. we assume the idol as our identity… we lose our true identity.. that true wholeness of self that has so many facets, all of which are harmoniously in sync with each other, that complement and deepen other.. all that is so much richer than that one blessing… all that which comes from finding the identity in the Infinite.  No. we’ve lost it. I’ve lost it.  and the only hope we have is being restored and redeemed.

heh. julie and julia.. and freakin hollywood that makes their delusion possible.


~ by Jungpa on December 18, 2009.

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