It only makes sense that pop culture icons bring a certain cultural weight to their own stories because realizing your dreams knows no age limits…
While Julia has many of the standard trappings that you come to expect from a documentary of a pop culture icon as we see how she changed the game for women in television while still being in the kitchen, it’s also a genuine portrait of a life well lived which is something that is just nice to see from someone who has spent so much time on our collective televisions and living rooms.
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.
Hard to believe that this is the second feature documentary to come from the directing team of Julie Cohen and Betsy West this year but these are documentarians who are working on a very high level because Julia is a light and effortless ride through a life well lived that trail blazed a life well out of the kitchen and into the culinary DNA of the world as a whole.
While no one will ever accuse these documentaries of reinventing any story telling wheels when tackling stories like this, there’s something to be said for efficiency. The team of Julie Cohen and Betsy West have the formula down to a science because rather then perhaps selling us on the accomplishments of a Julia Child, much like in the RBG doc they sell us on who she was as individual which allows for everything else to lay out in a nice and efficient manner.
It’s a film that is breezy but fascinating all at the same time as we understand who the woman was on the pop culture landscape. She was a feminist with a great set of instincts on how to elevate, not only the culinary arts but women in the media, especially during a time where it really wasn’t all the prevalent.
Obviously; Julia isn’t something you should be watching on an empty stomach but what really makes it stand out is how three dimensional it all feels. There’s obvious reverence from the filmmakers but it also has a very well rounded eye on how truly important she was in the burgeoning media landscape at the time and how she carved out a very distinct place for women who wanted to be a part of it.