By: Trevor Chartrand
From the Oscar-nominated directors of RBG, Julia is an endearing documentary that showcases the life and times of the cooking show pioneer, Julia Child. The film takes a biographical look at her charmingly humble rise to fame, from cook-book writer to television star. The documentary has a lot of personality and examines snippets of her off-camera personal life as well as her positive impact on the cooking industry as a whole. This is a very lighthearted and fun examination of a quirky, wholesome character.
Whether you’re familiar with her work or not, this charming little film is surprisingly engaging, if only for Child’s personality alone. Archive footage depicts Child as the Bob Ross of the cooking world – just as sweet, sincere and endearing, with a simple little public access show that captured the imagination of television audiences across North America.
Julia is presented in a very straightforward way, resembling a kind of made-for-tv highlight reel of Child’s career and life – but in the most appropriate way of course, considering Child’s television background. This is barely a complaint, but early sequences in the film do rely too heavily on some bland stock footage but, in Julia’s defence, they are covering a time in Child’s life before she had achieved any type of fame, when archival footage or photos would not be so readily available.
It’s difficult not to be charmed by Child’s sincerity, making this an easy watch bound to make audiences smile. She’s brimming with positivity, an undeniable role model for others to emulate. The film balances stories of Child’s television career with tales from her personal life quite seamlessly, and the filmmakers paint a compelling picture of her personality, on and off camera, in addition to her impact on the cooking industry – a male-dominated industry when she began her career.
Overall, Julia is a sweet film that makes for a fun and interesting watch, taking a lighthearted look at a very entertaining person. The doc is structured in a simple and easily digestible way, yet is still profound enough to depict her character entirely. By the time the credits roll, audiences will know Julia Child completely, as if she were an old friend.
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Trevor Chartrand: @OhHaiTrebor