Nolan Dalla

Review: “Julia” (A CNN Films Documentary)




Julia begins with the opening credits rolling to Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” and it’s absolutely perfect.

The blistering intensity of melding delicious food and larger-than-life personality and passion seasoned with unbridled curiosity is personified by an awkward 6′ 3″ woman with a high-pitched voice who towered over the junction of two professions — cooking and television.

Julia is a glorious two-hour biography about the late Julia Child (1912-2004), one of the most impactful American women of the 20th Century who shattered multiple barriers. For those who don’t know her life story, let’s just say you’re in for some surprises. I’ll leave it at that.

This isn’t a foodie show, though foodies will love it. This isn’t a history show, though historians will love it. This isn’t even a loving postcard to Julia Child, though she deserves all of those accolades and more. It’s simply a wonderful human story filled with joy, amusement, inspiration, and even a bit of sadness.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Julia as much as I did. After all, we’ve been down this familiar territory before, the most memorable prior journey chaperoned by Amy Adams and Meryl Streep in the wonderful 2009 film, Julia & Julia. This bio-doc digs deeper and then turns up the heat. Produced by Brian Glazer and Ron Howard, the creative duo who have given us so many extraordinary movies over the years, Julia takes us far beyond the kitchen and the television studio. Her success created an entire industry of celebrity chefs that followed in her footsteps. She also shattered old stereotypes about what celebrities are supposed to look like and how they should behave. She was a natural because she was herself.

It’s no exaggeration to say Julia Child changed America. She certainly changed how we ate. And we sure ate much better after Julia Child spent 50 years teaching us the art of great cooking– and living life as it was supposed to be lived and enjoyed.

Julia is must-see television and gets my highest recommendation.


Note: CNN will repeat “Julia” in upcoming showings. Check their listings for the next repeat.

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