4 out of 5 stars
We live in a gastronomical, culinary wonderland. Much of this can be attributed to the work of the first tele-chef in history, Julia Child. Despite having a unique accent, containing little reputation in fine cuisine and being on public television, this woman managed to change history. Standing at six feet three inches tall, she proved that she was more than statuesque in appearance. Julia became a giant in the industry and her influential shadow still can be seen in kitchens around the globe.
Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s latest documentary travels through the life of the most recognised televised chef of all time. From her conservative upbringing in Pasadena, California, to her role in the work during World War II to the eventual fortuitous life in France, which led to her breaking into the world of fine cuisine. The directorial team shows the journey of this gregarious personality and how her tenacious manner would help open doors for her to change the way America ate dinner.
With the benefit of never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos from her husband Paul, and first-person narratives from the cook herself, this film honours the legacy of this force in the kitchen. Where it would have been satisfactory to focus on her career, the real juicy details of her story were found in the backstory of her personal life. Between the beautiful love affair within the marriage to Paul Child and her willingness to stand for her political views without allowing it to influence her on-screen persona, we can understand her drive and passion for life as well as French food. Even if audiences do not agree with her thoughts on society, she will win most back with her generous spirit and desire for us all to enjoy a wonderful meal.
Julia is a delectable project for fans of the first ‘rockstar’ chef. Still, more importantly, it shows her influence that continues today. For most authors, to have a cookbook that sold over 2.5 million copies would be more than enough to define their lives. Yet, this film shows that she was so much more than an author of a groundbreaking cookbook. This biographical sketch of Julia Child’s life will satisfy all those who came to love her over the years and desire one more taste of her contagious personality.
Reel Dialogue: Food is love
One element that kept coming out through this documentary was the value of food worldwide and how it truly is an expression of love. When asked to join someone at their dining room table, most of us must realise that it is more than a meal. To many, this is an opportunity to show guests or family how much they love them by sharing a meal with them. This food can be complex or straightforward, but in the end, it represents the heart of the one who serves it to those who sit around the table.
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
From the Passover meal to the simplicity of Jesus sharing bread and wine with his closest friends, the God of the Bible shows where this expression of love originates. Throughout the words of this cherished book, we can see that there is a value placed on food and what it represents. After watching the tantalising culinary processes of Julia Child, it might be worth checking out where the true source of our love of food originated. Also, how the food offered by God will always satisfy.