The Joy of Julia – Review of the documentary Julia

Julia, – The Delicious Life of America’s First Food Icon

Julia. The new documentary is the story of the bigger than life woman who gave home cooks permission to experiment in the kitchen – without guilt even if mistakes occurred. It’s Julia Child of course!

Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West created a film where, integrated into Julia’s delicious food journey, weaves a love story within a love story within a love story. Thanks to Sony Classics Pictures for the complementary opportunity to preview the film.

The first love story is about the man who changed the initial trajectory of Julia’s life – her husband Paul Child. In true romance movie style, Julia didn’t like Paul’s moustache and he thought her giggles were annoying.

Working closely together during World War II led to a friendship and eventually a true soul mate love. Paul was her biggest fan and supporter in all her endeavors.

The next love story begins when Paul is transferred to France. An unexpected sole (meringue) dish awakens Julia’s soul. (Sole/soul… sorry for the pun!)

Sometimes it’s the simple that leads to your passion and for Julia the traditional fish dish began a life long quest to learn, cook, and of course eat French food. She also began her love affair with France. The film highlights many of the magical moments of Julia’s life life in Paris.

Julia And Paul On Front Lawn
Photo Credit – Brian Leatart. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The third love story I’d call “education.” From her first cook book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking to her award winning WGBH-TV television series, The French Chef, Julia was committed to bring the home cook into the world of the art of French cooking. Her goal was to dissolve the mystery and fear of what many thought of as ‘fancy.’ She wanted the experience to be fun and joyful.

On a side note, it was another simple food that opened the door to Julia’s TV career…. her on-air demonstration of how to prepare the perfect omelet.

Credit: Photograph by Paul Child. © Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Our social media friends will recognize and appreciate Julia’s authentic on-air personality where she was a master of teaching from her blunders. Our food pals will relate to Julia’s attitude that “It always take a while, you just have to be patient.” The Dames of Les Dames d’Escoffier will proudly claim bragging rights of Julia as a member of this prestigious culinary organization. By the way, I am a member too!

Credit: Photograph by Paul Child. © Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

For Julia’s fans the film is a warm hug. Cohen and West sprinkle never before seen archival footage, with old photos, and interviews with family and food notables such as Julia’s dear friend Jacque Pepin. For folks who have not an interest in cooking, there are life lessons that will inspire even those who don’t know how to turn on the oven.

5 Inspirational Julia Life Lessons

  1. It’s never too late to begin a new adventure. Julia published her first book at age 49 and started her TV career at age 50. When she was in her eighties Julia filmed a TV series with Chef Jacque Pepin.

2. Never give up on your dream. It took Julia 10 years to write and publish Mastering The Art of French Cooking

3. Success is not dependent on traditional beauty. Julia was over six feet tall, had a funny voice, and freckles.

4. Authenticity + the willingness to take a chance = a winning combination. People related to Julia’s down-to-earth personality and style. She had a way of making you feel if she could do it… well, darn it! so could you.

5. Often it is the simple that can change the direction of your life… if you follow it. For Julia a traditional French sole meringue (sole basted in butter) set her path to learn about French cuisine.

Julia opens in Atlanta on November 19, 2021 at the Midtown Landmark Theatre

For more information on other cities and to learn about the film visit Sony Classics

Sony Classic Pictures provided complementary access to the film; however all opinions are those of the author.

Channeling Julia Child — What Is Keeping You From Your Next Adventure?

Bon Appetite!

Credit: Photograph by Paul Child. © Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Author: Toby Bloomberg

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