‘Julia’ DVD Review – A Rewarding Ode To The Rich Life of Julia Child

JULIA brings to life the legendary cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and even about women. Using never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and cutting-edge, mouth-watering food cinematography, the film traces Julia Child’s 12-year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to become the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose – and her fame – at 50, and took America along on the whole delicious journey.

For in-depth thoughts on Julia, please see my colleague Dom Fisher’s review from its original theatrical release here

For additional thoughts on the film, please check out an in-depth discussion on the Homedance Film Festival Podcast.

Video Quality

Julia comes to DVD with a strong 480p transfer that presents the movie really well. This film is a mixture of talking head interviews with healthy amounts of archival footage interspersed throughout, which provides different levels of visual quality. The recent interviews obviously look noticeably better than inconsistent archival footage, especially with some vintage news clips that are very chunky. Overall, the quality of each source seems to be derived from the best elements available. Skin tones look natural and details hold up fairly well. Colors are a bit flat and black levels are subject to some crush and compression artifacting. The image is a bit soft in certain environments, but the image is more crisp with the new food prep footage. This may not be a high definition presentation, but the image is very strong and quite pleasing given the format limitations. 

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Audio Quality

The DVD comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track that does everything it needs to do well. The film is presented with English, Spanish and French subtitles for those who need them. Dialogue is pretty consistently clear throughout with only occasional moments where sounds from the clips muddle the clarity of the subject’s words. Surround speakers add a bit of texture to the proceedings, mostly in the form of musical cues and chatter. This track appears to be free from any damage or other issues that would lessen your enjoyment. This presentation is about as good as the source material will allow. 

Julia Child
Photo Credit – Fairchild Archive-Penske Media-Shutterstock. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Special Features

There are no special features provided on this disc. 

Final Thoughts

Julia is a really enlightening and entertaining film about one of the most unique figures in the culinary industry. Filmmakers ​​Julie Cohen and Betsy West do a really excellent job of celebrating her life without making her into a saintly figure. There is so much to explore throughout the momentous life, and they handle it with so much care. Plus, you have the added bonus of dazzling scenes of food preparation that will have you dusting off your own cookbook and getting to work. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released a DVD sporting a decent A/V transfer, but a Blu-Ray would have been greatly preferred. On the strength of the film alone, this is worth checking out. Recommended 

Julia is currently available to purchase on DVD and Digital. 

Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the DVD.

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Disclaimer: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.

 

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