Food is personal to every individual; it is a journey of emotion, of taste and, of course, satisfaction. Likewise, so are movies. It is a feeling of wanting to eat it all again even though you are bursting, or keep the movie on constant play.
Just as my home library is creaking with books on food (must catalogue them one day), so is my DVD selection. In fact, quite a few are the old VHS system, but I just cannot bear to throw them away or indeed, pay a fortune to get them converted to a new system.
I don’t watch movies at the cinema – I bring them to me and I either watch alone or with some foodie friends and appropriate snacks and dips, so much so that the carpet is always a mess at the end of the night! To watch something so enjoyable for me in a soulless movie theatre, is just not my bag. You just want to get into the moment or moments when you feel you are in amongst the dishes and you can almost smell and taste them.
Reliving Food Memory
Food is the memory of a moment, a place or an experience. As I have travelled and worked so widely, conversation always seems to come back to ‘oh, what did you have to eat there’, or some such question that I am always happy to wax lyrical to. Slightly embarrassed to admit, I am unequivocally a food movie junkie (as in ‘cannot get enough of them’).
So, sit back and get comfortable (maybe a snack?), and join me on my movie journey of some of my favourites. The synopsis will be brief, as I must let other contributors share the Simply Souperlicious space! No specific order, and no specific genre (well, food of course) in my titles.
Favorite Movies about Food
I tend to avoid reading a book, then following it up with the movie, but I can break that rule. ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’ was enjoyable in both instances, and you can’t get away from the on-screen relationship between Helen Mirren and Om Puri, rival restaurateurs. Mirren owns an exceptional Michelin starred French restaurant, and Puri and his vast Indian family set up opposite her – 100 feet away. The story develops through food and flexibility, with Mirren having to change her ways and Puri trying to attract customers to ‘this new foreign cuisine’. Surreptitiously, they both bend their ways through food and ideas and come to a romantic compromise! Other relationships develop throughout, but food is certainly the star attraction of the movie. Cinematography is great, close ups of dishes and plenty of recipe creation.
‘Eat, Pray, Love’ with Julia Roberts in the lead is truly a spiritual food journey. Escaping from a messy break up with her husband, Julia goes to find herself, her soul and potentially love through a series of different countries. I guess we would call that backpacking with a meaning! In terms of food content, Italy comes to the fore, with India and Indonesia more on the spiritual side, but it is worth it just for the Italian food and her quest for the perfect pizza. Well thanks Julia, I went to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michel on a visit to Naples, and whilst I am not a pizza fan I had to agree – best I have ever tasted! If you find yourself in Naples, do not expect to walk in the door – they are booked months ahead!
In ‘Chef’, Jon Favreau plays a down on his luck chef, and after being fired due to arguing with a critic, sets off with his son to buy his dream – a food truck! You could say he was another lost soul, wanting to find himself and his passion for food that had long since waned due to the ‘wrong owner’ (played by Dustin Hoffman). The moral of this story is cook what you want to cook, and how you want to cook it, follow your dreams and your stomach! Very enjoyable comedy/drama and he even finds love, but I am not giving too much away!
‘Big Night ‘– this is an oldie (1996) but eminently watchable. The fantastic Stanley Tucci stars as one of two brothers owning an Italian restaurant in the 1950s, where they cannot agree on the food on the menu. If you want to see dish after dish of Italian food, the story plays out when they decide to have one night of epic dining, facing each other like two warring stags. The setting of New Jersey and the Paradise Restaurant is highly believable. Do they save the restaurant from going under? You will have to watch it and see. Isabella Rossellini also appears to add more Italian flavour.
Some people may disagree with me, but I really enjoyed ‘Julie and Julia’ as I am a huge fan of Julia Child, the slightly eccentric but renowned American chef. Julie’s cooking heroine is also Julia Child, so she sets out to recreate 524 dishes from Ms Childs’ book, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’, of which a signed copy by Julia herself, sits proudly on my library shelf. It is a fun movie, if slightly vacuous in places, as you watch the triumphs and disasters of the recipes Julie cooks, and how she recounts every day on her blog. The film was panned by critics, as ‘obviously a scam to make money from a blog’ – but I found the film enjoyable and put that down to jealousy of other bloggers! Meryl Streep is excellent as Julia if a little OTT. Somehow, Stanley Tucci managed to sneak into yet another foodie film as Julia’s doting husband!
Whilst totally given away in the title, ‘Chocolat’ will not fail to draw you into the atmosphere behind the film. The first thing you will want to do is pick up the nearest box or bar offering and chow on down. Every element of this film is evocative, from the story to the offerings in the small artisan chocolate shop set up in a quaint village, much to the horror of some of the more ‘stately dames’. Miss Binoche who plays the starring role is seductive, alluring and looks like she is tasting chocolate full time! It is a good story, it is romantic, and you can smell the chocolate through the screen. It helps that Johnny Depp and Judi Dench also play amazing parts in this truly enjoyable movie. Watch it!
That is it for now folks, perhaps my esteemed patron of Simply Souperlicious will let me return to my library for another viewing session! There are some great movies out there, and I have deliberately stayed away from some of the dark and potentially highbrow ones – this is supposed to be fun!