Julia Review - Delicious, Charming, Amusing

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Julia, from HBO Max, presents a delightful sampling of the early days of her television series, as she navigates the changing times, the success of her French cookbook and the bold decision to pursue her dreams.

The first episode titled, “Omelette” begins in Norway, where Julia, played by Sarah Lancashire, her husband, Paul Child, played by David Hyde Pierce, a diplomat, are celebrating with his friends her recent success as Knopf Publishing house has agreed to publish her French cookbook. The telephone rings and he is summoned back to the U.S., as all are expecting for them to once again be reassigned to Paris.

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The episode moves ahead one year, and we find that couple had been forced into an early retirement and were now living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Nonetheless, the book, which she co-authored with Simone Beck, played by Isabella Rossellini, was exploding and the appetite and mystique for authenticate French cooking was erupting across America.

In this episode she is schedule to appear on a small public television station, WGBH, to promote “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” with as her husband says, “a bore of a man.” So, with those words echoing in her head, she does what seems natural to her, and disrupts the status quo. Armed with supplies, she heads off to the station and promptly demonstrates how to cook a delightful Omelette in under five minutes.

After 27 letters later, and a station executive Hunter Fox, played by Robert Joy, who loved her show and after a pitch meeting with producer Russ Morash, played by Fran Kranz, The French Chef starring Julia Child was born.

The show, as we see across the episodes was such as success that Alice Naman, played by Brittany Bradford, decided to follow Ms. Child’s advice, and become a pioneer and disruptor and in the process syndicated the show, which was unheard of in the 1960s, to markets across the United States.

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We also meet Avis DeVoto, played by Bebe Neuwirh, a longtime friend and assistant in the show and Dorothy Zinberg, played by Lindsey Broad, who also assisted on the show. Judith Jones, played by Fiona Glascott, her long-time editor at Knopf and Blanche Knopf, played by Judith Light.

Across the eight episodes, "Coq au Vin," "Beef Bourguignon," "Petit Fours," "Foie Gras," "Crepes Suzette," "Breads," and "Chocolate Souffle," we realize Ms. Child was more than a disruptor in the television industry, she was a pioneer for women and often told throughout that it is best to leave the cooking up to the men. However, her style and brand complete with bumbling’s and fumbling’s during the episodes endeared her to Americans, as she made is clear any person, male or female, and at the time the American housewife was the primary audience, could easily learn, and prepare exquisite French cuisine.

As the series is set in the 1960s, we understand it was the beginning of the women’s movement, and a real effort was in place to free women from what many considered the imprisonment of simply being a housewife.

The confrontation between Ms. Child and a young Betty Freidan, played by Tracee Chimo Pallero, brought on a moment of deep contemplation for Ms. Child, who for a minute believed she was contributing to a deep seeded conspiratorial movement geared to keep women from having it all if they wanted.

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To hear both arguments, now, it appears that Ms. Child was able to have her cake and eat it too, before the notion of a woman with her own money, her own livelihood and her own career which generated jobs for others ever came into the national conversation. And yes, she taught American housewives to cook and in the next episode we find housewives weren’t the only ones who learned to cook, while watching her shows.

We also meet her father, John, played by James Cromwell, and understand clearly that sugar and spice and everything nice was his only vision of what a woman should be, and while Julia was an expert in the kitchen, a college graduate, found a loving husband, traveled the world, authored a best-selling book, she did not fit his definition of a woman and would never.

Like fine wine, Julia Child’s story get better with age. While Julia is meant to be consumed is portions, the story and characters are so addictive binging on the eight episodes are a forbidden pleasure. Bon Appetit!

Delicious, delightful, charming, Julia is streaming on HBO Max. See it!

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Country: U.S.

Language: English.

Runtime: 46/49minutes each, six hours total.

Writer: Eboni Booth, Daniel Goldfarb, Natalia Temesgen, Christopher Keyser, Emily Bensinger, Erica Lipez.

Director: Jenee La Marque, Melanie Mayron, Charles McDougall, Erica Dunton, Scott Ellis.

Producer: Donna E. Bloom, Sean Sforza, Denise Pinckley.

Cast: Sarah Lancashire, David Hyde Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth, Fran Kranz, Fiona Glascott, Brittany Bradford, Robert Joy, Michael Malvesti. Judith Light, Adriane Lenox, Isabella Rossellini, Lindsey Broad, Erin Neufer, Christian Clemenson, Tracee Chimo Pallero, James Cromwell.

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