‘Julia’ Review: Glossy, Surface-Level Julia Child Documentary Sticks to a Familiar Recipe

As a chef, Julia Child made no claims for herself as an innovator: Her mission was not to create new recipes, but to interpret and archive age-old French ones in ways the average American home cook could tackle without fear.

Given her dual priorities of traditionalism and accessibility, then, she might well have appreciated “Julia,” a bright, cheerful, audience-friendly overview of Child’s life and legacy that steers fastidiously clear of any unexpected insight or information on a well-documented subject.Docmaking duo Julie Cohen and Betsy West previously scored an Oscar nomination for “Rbg,” a similarly upbeat, uncomplicated portrait of another iconic American woman, and — save for the addition of much butter-varnished gastroporn photography — they haven’t significantly changed the recipe here.

There’s nothing especially wrong with that: Child was a broadly entertaining public personality, and the film is broadly entertaining in turn, zipping through her eventful, rather inspiring

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