Julia Child IMDb photo

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.”
— Julia Child

Julia Child was born Julia McWilliams, on Aug. 15, 1912, in Pasadena, California. The eldest of three children, at 6 feet 2 inches, Julia wasn’t the tallest of her siblings.

So how could she possibly stand out?

First of all, she could talk and walk the action, cook and sell a product, and the gift of gab.

Known as “Jukies” to her family, she became Julia Child when she married Paul Child in 1946. And just two days shy of her 92 birthday she died, but not before changing the way America, and possibly the world, looked at food, especially French cuisine.

In what some critics are calling the best documentary movie of 2021, director Julie Cohen and Betsy West, along with a bevy of smart women, bring the story of “Julia” who, like a meteor, fell from the sky and into women’s kitchens where packaged, plastic covered “TV dinners” were all the rage.


Her book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” was published in 1961. The beloved cookbook has sold 1.5 million copies since it’s publication. But at first it didn’t light up the sky. By 1964 it had sold just 4,000 copies. And 600,000 by 1969.

It was Julia herself that people took to. She was the first celebrity chef on television, with her show “The French Chef,” and her larger than life persona, appeared on one late night comedy hour after another.

It helped that Johnny Carson, after tasting her omelet on camera, planted a kiss on her cheek and said, “I think I love you,” putting her on the bullet train to fame.

Cohen and West fill the 95 minutes with details about this lovable upper class girl with the crazy hair and an infectious giggle.

Like a good witch, she hovers over mouth watering shots of boiling pots and simmering sauces to conjure magic. But there’s so much more.

You’ll get to see never before seen photos, personal letters, diary notes and insights into her marriage to her husband OSS agent Paul Child, who devoted his life to her, even to hand writing her cue cards for cooking show appearances.


A touching note is included near the end, when floating in a depression after her breast cancer scare, resulting in a radical mastectomy in 1968, Julia cries to her husband, “How can you love me now?”

“It’s not your breasts I fell in love with,” he tells her, “ It’s your beautiful legs I love.”

“Julia” plays at Waterville’s Railroad Square Cinema starting Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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