Food is love. No truer words have been spoken: "I love to cook." "I love pizza." "I love eating with my family." "I love going out to dinner." "I love [insert your favourite restaurant here]." But as it turns out, after eating purely for sustenance and survival but before "food is love", the food cooked and served in America was that of convenience. We're talking Spam, anything that came in a can, frozen dinners, and a surprising and disgusting amount of things shoved inside jelly. Yuck. Enter Julia Child. Julia was born wealthy, conservative and never needed to lift a spatula, nor did she know what one was. But during the war, Julia served her country as a successful clerk for the OSS - and as a result she got to experience the world. She travelled, she ate exotic cuisine, and she met her husband Paul. Already known for his fine palate and taste for wine, it was Paul's posting in France working for the U.S. State Department in the post-war era that led Julia to sit down and enjoy her very first French meal. Her life was forever changed - and as it were, so would be the lives and world of cooking for all Americans.
Distance and lack of technology at the time led both Julia and Paul to be prolific writers. Through journals and letters, fans, historians - and in this case, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West ('RBG', 2018) - were able to piece together the incredible life and times of Julia Child. We become privy to behind-the-scenes accounts thanks to producers and crew from 'The French Chef', editors, writers, fellow celebrity cooks such as Ina Garten, Presidents of the Cordon Bleu, and relatives. 'Julia' is rich with evidence thanks to photographs, correspondence, journals - and, of course, Julia's 40-plus year career in front of the camera.
Julia was such a unique creature. Not just thanks to her 6'3" frame and of course, that unmistakable voice, but throughout her entire life she waded through male-dominated worlds - be it university, the war, the culinary world and television. And she not only succeeded in them all, but she also did it with respect, integrity and a lot of gumption, leaving behind an incredible and indelible wake that paved the way for future women. When television executives were peppering television screens with young, pretty, non-speaking females, in walks Julia. Tall, unconventional and in her 50s - gasp - and she bloody crushed it!
Every single person who speaks in this film speaks with love.
What I loved most about 'Julia' was that every single person who speaks in this film speaks with love. Whether they knew her directly, casually, or just a fan, the way they speak about her goes well beyond admiration and respect; they loved her. They loved what she did, how she did it and who she was - warts and all. And that positively shines on the screen. Like Julia herself, this film feels comforting and warm. And much like cooking shows of today, you don't have to like or practice cooking to enjoy this film - 'Julia' is a beautiful tale about a remarkable woman who fought for women's reproductive rights and AIDS research who taught us to be fearless, that no mistake is unfixable, and of course taught America to cook. Bon appétit.