Using family photos, archive footage, excerpts from her diaries, and memories of friends and family, the film follows her from childhood in an upper-middle-class conservative family in Pasadena, California. Until Smith College, until her service with the OSS in World War II, where she met her husband Paul.
After the war, Paul joined the diplomatic corps and was eventually posted to Paris, where Julia fell in love with French culture and cuisine and began studying French cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu. That led to her book, television, and the fun, uncompromising Julia that those of us who grew up got to know and love watching her on PBS.
Child fans already know these rough outlines of their life story. But “Julia” adds some details for her and shows her in action, cooking, talking and being hilarious on her show, being interviewed by the likes of Dick Cavett and Johnny Carson, and making public appearances for Planned Parenthood and AIDS – the little one conservative republican girl who turned liberal democrat.
“Julia” is also something of a subtle love story as the filmmakers use excerpts from his diaries and writings, photos, many of them of Paul and the memories of friends, to describe their lifelong romance.
There aren’t many rough edges in “Julia”. The film is based on the memoirs she wrote with a great-nephew, drew from her archives and interviewed admirers. Their tenacity and tough negotiating skills are only mentioned and any disputes are either completely overlooked or quickly settled.