2021 AFI Festival: Julia Movie Review

Directed by Julia Cohen and Betsy West
Plot: The film chronicles the life of Julia Child.

Food is Love

Julia Child

Most of us can remember as kids grabbing a cookbook out of the pantry and seeing Julia Child’s name on the cover. While I knew of her – I knew that she was this cooking phenom – what I didn’t realize was the global impact Child had on the cooking world.

Cooking is one failure after another and that’s how you learn.

Julia Child

We all battle within about when is it our time. When is our moment in the sun and it’s an internal struggle that I fight with daily. But unfortunately, we don’t always have the patience to play the waiting game and many people these days expect things to happen on their time or fast. Julia Child was 50 years old when she caught her break. Yeah, FIFTY, I had no clue until now that was the case. So for me, this movie became about something bigger than Julia Child, and it becomes an inspirational tale that includes Child’s journey.

As I said, we all know the name but do we all know the impact? I think what we explore throughout this documentary highlights a woman who found herself later in life and challenged things that nobody was challenging at this time. Sure, women belonged in the kitchen, but the meals were not all that appetizing (wait till you see what they were serving, ha), but it wasn’t because of the lack of resources or the men/women’s fault. They didn’t have the recipes or weren’t taught anything other than these bland meals.

One of the more creative decisions I liked about the film was how they shot the moments between the cooking. We see plenty of Child, but funny enough, the movie is very sensual. The movie explores the truth behind how sex and food go hand in hand. After the film was over, Director Julia Cohen spoke about how when talking to the French cooks, it’s not more than 3-4 sentences before they bring up sex and food together. It was a risk-taking move that we don’t always see in documentaries, but one of which that paid off.

Directors Julia Cohen and Betsy West directed this in a way that highlights that Child was so much more than a cook. She was a woman that broke down boundaries by opening the door for women inside the culinary world. But more importantly, Cohen/West did a remarkable job of showing that Child left an even more significant impact on the world with her work with women’s rights and within the LGBTQ community.

Julia Child impacted every single one of our lives and I wouldn’t have known the scale of which she did without watching this documentary. I can’t recommend watching this, learning and maybe finding that grasp of inspiration you were looking for to push forward.

The Verdict: B+

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