Friday, November 19, 2021

Julia Review: A Recipe For Success


Release date: November 19, 2021 (DC Market)
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed By: Julie Cohen & Betsy West

JULIA brings to life the legendary cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and even about women. Using never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and cutting-edge, mouth-watering food cinematography, the film traces Julia Child's 12 year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to become the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose – and her fame – at 50, and took America along on the whole delicious journey.

Julia bills itself as a documentary about the iconic chef, but it is so much more than that.  It starts with a frank and eye opening look at America's food culture before Julia Child's brand of energetic and easy to follow recipes helped show people what food could actually be like.  The historical perspective was insightful as it really does show just how different America's food landscape was before Julia and after Julia. It shows everything that you've seen in clickbait Facebook stories: Jello salad, marshmallow salad, and everything in between.  And it shows how the meals she showed on TV helped to show people that not only can you make these meals, they are worth it.

But after the historical perspective, the film gets into the woman herself.  She has a much more interesting and eventful life than I had anticipated, and she basically had an entire life and career before becoming her iconic television personality.  And the documentary also showcases how Julia Child was ahead of her time in many ways.  From her drive and ambition, to the way that she broke barriers for women in television, and to her own relationship with her husband, Julia Child was someone who changed not only the food landscape, but America's perception on women.  I really loved seeing the sections on Julia and her husband Paul.  The two had a lovely relationship and seeing the love between the two and how much he supported her career at a time when that was an uncommon characteristic in a partner was heartwarming to see.  

And the film looks at Julia Child's influence on America this through an exploration of everything Julia Child did that was not in the interest of her career.  Once she became the personality that she was, she still spoke out for and supported causes that were important to her.  I loved seeing how she held to her convictions regardless of what that would mean for her career.  Having that courage of conviction is exceedingly rare these days, so seeing it in this film was a welcome reminder of someone who had their cake and ate it too.

Julia is a fascinating documentary that looks at an influential and ahead of her time personality, and her effect on America's food landscape and society as a whole.

Watch it.

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Julia is playing in LA and NY, and opens for a wider release on November 19, 2021.  For showtimes, click herehere.

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