If you turn on your TV set today, you’ll not need to channel hop for too long before you encounter a cookery show. They’ve become a staple of daytime television across the world and are now ingrained within popular culture. However, there was a time when this was not the case. While in Europe, especially in France, ‘cooking’ was a high art, in the United States the emphasis was on convenience foods. That was until 1963 when The French Chef first aired on what would become PBS.
Introduced to fine cuisine by her husband, Julia Child’s life was changed forever by the years they spent living in France. It opened a whole new world of possibilities for the Californian, graduating from the prestigious Cordon Bleu cookery school and subsequently studying privately under several master chefs. However, it was back in America as the host of one of the first cooking programmes that she became famous. Her bigger than life character capturing the hearts of a nation. Her story is told in Julia.
Julia is a stylish and zippy portrait of a unique personality. Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s (the team behind the award-winning RBG) documentary is a whirlwind journey through Child’s life. This pace makes it an entirely entertaining watch even if, like me, you have next to no interest in cookery. There’s some wonderful archive footage and interesting insights which help make Julia both informative and slightly outlandish. Like the women herself.
Julia screens at Toronto International Film Festival.