Good Urban Planning 200: Cities In Cinema Essay Example
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“Should We Have Stayed In Brooklyn?” The Film by Nora Ephron, “Julie & Julia”
Though the film “Julie & Julia” shot by Nora Ephron is fully dedicated to mastering the culinary art, its very important background is related to urban planning, personal space, and migration. The director demonstrates the access to the Internet as a way of survival and becoming famous from any neighborhood or city and finding personal space in the web. This essay will discuss the urban planning issues with relation to the film.
Being the first major film based on a blog, it is itself already the proof that today, the mankind has the devices much more important than the location in the country or the city to achieve success. The film has two storylines but the one referring to the urban issues is Julie Powell’s one. Her case is typical and inspiring because it begins with a tiny apartment above pizzeria in Queens and though it ends in the same borough of New York, the inner goal of the main character as well as fame (and maybe, money) is achieved.
The beginning of the film is followed by revealing an urban planning issue – during the telephone conversation at the call center, Julie hears the complaints about the plans of rebuilding the World Trade Center by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The quantity of calls by the angry public is high so the audience guesses this problem was urgent in the early 2000’s. Another director’s hint at the urban planning difficulties appears during the conversation of Julie and her friends in the restaurant. One of them speaks of $190’000’000 spent for the project in Manhattan aimed to knock down houses in the area and create a skyscraper. All the friends support her and find the project potentially successful while Julie cannot believe what she hears – knocking houses down sounds as simple and innocent as if the question did not concern people living in these houses.
Julie seems unhappy about moving to Queens – she only accepted it for her husband. Another reason was the bigger living space – the eternal problem, namely in the big cities. Julie wistfully looks at the shabby walls and complains about the small kitchen where she cannot develop her potential in cooking.
Living in New York is demonstrated in the movie as watching the enormous wealth gap – the main character eats at the same table with women who work with millions of dollars and might live in mansions while Julie struggles for life in a small apartment and has a hateful job. Here, the director pays attention that those who are in charge of destroying the old and building the new have no idea of what it feels like to have a housing problem.
Of course, the movie reflects upon making dreams come true but obviously, money is the main motivation leading the main character to blogging. Julie was not really inspired but put into a rage that her friend earned so much money by simply writing a blog. While watching Julia Child’s TV show she feels sad she cannot afford wearing pearls, all the more in the kitchen as Julia does. So here, the movie shows the birth of success in need in combination with passion.
The lack of money is mentioned throughout the movie – Julie is a complete antithesis to Julia Child in this meaning. While Julia is a wife of the diplomat who aimed to find some occupation that would not make her bored, Julie managed to work all day and still find time to learn to cook. Of course, she cannot afford anything more but Julia’s book as a teacher. She mentions she spends half of her monthly salary to buy products for cooking and she complains the price of lobsters is incredibly high. Her boss reminds her he can fire her if she does not want the job, and though she hates it, she says she is sorry. The risk to lose the source of money can bring lots of troubles in surviving in the urban city.
When Julie first meets the possibility of being published, the joy comes mostly of the potential high income she may get for the book. It is not that she is harpy – she dreams of being acknowledged very much but the need for money is more important. The scene where she is disappointed the publisher has not arrived is very significant in the movie. In her monologue, the audience hears the emotional outpouring of the character. The book contract could bring her money, and money could give the couple a chance not to live in Queens till the rest of their lives. Money is obviously the most needed commodity.
The film reveals the unique support of the social network able to help to become noticed and heard and thus earn money. Its psychological support is also significant but it cannot compete with that of the family and close friends. The husband of the main character being in the same situation always cheered Julie up, mobilized her to be fearless and develop her talents – he always found a bright side in the surviving process in New York. It does not matter which country the urban neighborhood belongs to – they are almost the same in their difficulties all over the world. The only thing that matters is the surrounding of the beloved people who believe in one’s success. Having this huge support and personal persistence, everything becomes possible even if the apartment one lives in is located in the unfortunate neighborhood above pizzeria.
The movie demonstrates the evolution of both the main character and her housing problem. At the beginning, the necessity to pay for the apartment and thus to work is in Julie’s way to develop herself in something she is interested in, but in the end of the movie, the spectator watches a very cozy housing where the appetizing dishes are born, and a talented writer and cook self-actualizes in applause of the admiring fans. It now does not matter where to write and cook. The curious fact is that by the time the movie was shot, Julie Powell kept on living in Queens.
The only thing Julie is sure about in the beginning of the movie is that adding egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk will make the mass thick. Everything concerning life in the urban environment is always unclear for the working middle class. But disregarding the housing problem, one can always create or find a unique personal space for living out a dream.
“Julie & Julia” does not concentrate deeply on the urban planning issues but its slight hints and background create a clear image of the problem and convey a simple message of solving it to the audience. The effects of social network’s influence and help as well as the family’s support are perfectly depicted in the movie.
PERRY, BRYON. “Jane Lynch”. Variety (2005).
SCOTT, A.O. “Two for the Stove”. The New York Times (2009).
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