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HBO Max's Julia offers a new angle on the midlife awakening

  • The Julia Child drama series "skips past this early period (perhaps assuming that its target audience is well acquainted with it by now) to focus on a different urge Child found herself with in midlife: the hunger for, simply, more," says Sophie Gilbert. "Julia, created and co-written by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Daniel Goldfarb, shares that series’ ebullience, along with its central conceit of a funny, privileged woman fighting to be more than a wife. (Julia eschews, thank God, the mile-a-minute monologues.) But it also presents, over eight episodes, a portrait that’s sharper and more gratifying than just that idea: a character who finds—in her 50s—that she has not only a gift, but a calling. The show’s version of Julia, played with spiky finesse by the British actor Sarah Lancashire, brings untempered hunger to joyful life. The more Julia indulges herself, the more she expands her conception of what opportunity can be. Her appetites, untamed, become not just unruly but wholly radical. Stories about midlife awakenings tend to explore transient indulgences or vaguely spiritual quests (Julia Roberts’s newly divorced writer nibbling gelato in Eat Pray Love, Reese Witherspoon’s grieving writer contemplating her blisters in Wild). Julia expands the canon, treating professional gratification as the most evasive pleasure of all." ALSO: Frasier's David Hyde Pierce and Bebe Neuwirth talk reuniting on Julia.

    TOPICS: Julia, HBO Max, Bebe Neuwirth, David Hyde Pierce