Watch it for...
An honest, funny, and inspiring depiction of how Julia Child becomes a beloved television personality and the strength of the women supporting and fighting for Julia’s dream alongside her.
Julia is a fictional biographical account of Julia Child and her transition from popular author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking to national television host of The French Chef. The story takes unexpected turns as Julia’s character conceives of and pushes for her own cooking show at Boston’s public television station in 1963. The series reflects important social issues of the time, particularly related to women, such as economic opportunity, racism, misogyny in the workplace, and the birth of feminism. In addition to this macro view of 1960s America, Julia also showcases personal struggles of loss, jealousy, identity, and ambition among the central characters. However, the joyful portrayal of Julia Child’s story, her passion for food, and the admiration she inspires across the globe is never overshadowed as viewers witness and celebrate the unlikely realization of her television dreams.
I was pretty certain that I would appreciate this series considering the terrific ensemble cast and how much I enjoyed the 2009 movie Julie and Julia. However, I was not prepared for the emotional investment in Julia Child’s character as it develops in each episode. Sarah Lancashire’s performance as Julia never approaches caricature, even as familiar as Child’s on-screen persona still is. Instead, she presents a woman who is flawed and insecure but knows that she has much more to offer herself and others in the second half of her life.
I’m still struck by how the audience meets Julia at what would typically be the “end” of her story, especially as a woman entering the “change of life” with established professional and personal success. The most touching part of her continued determination is the way Julia overcomes feelings about her appearance. It’s painfully evident that she is self-conscious about her size, age, and looks—and that these feelings are rooted deep inside. Yet everyone who sees her, whether in person or on camera, is awed by her charm and loveliness. It makes me wonder how the self-images of women might shift if we were able to look at ourselves the way others see us and not let our own self-perceptions get in the way.