List: Cinema - DVD films _ ROMANCE by FOOD

Here are some food related ROMANCE films...
 to enjoy around this VALENTINE’s DAY celebration.

The featured piece: "Love is in the air"
which I had put together lately for the...
inspired me to finalize my list of ROMANTIC foodie related fims.

Therefore, what better time than now to share them with you.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

(Foreign film...with english subtitles)

[1987-1988] ... Running Time: 103 min.
* General Review Rating... 4/5

Summary: The Danish/French Babette's Feast is based on a story by Isak Dinesen, also the source of the very different Out of Africa (1985). Stephane Audran plays Babette, a 19th century Parisian political refugee who seeks shelter in a rough Danish coastal town. Philippa (Bodil Kjer) and Martina (Birgitte Federspiel), the elderly daughters of the town's long-dead minister, take Babette in. As revealed in flashback, Philippa and Martina were once beautiful young women (played by Hanne Stensgaard and Vibeke Hastrup), who'd forsaken their chances at romance and fame, taking hollow refuge in religion. Babette holds a secret that may very well allow the older ladies to have a second chance at life. This is one of the great movies about food, but there are way too many surprises in Babette's Feast to allow us to reveal anything else at this point (except that Ingmar Bergman "regulars" Bibi Andersson and Jarl Kulle have significant cameo roles).. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
This above all else a fine example in the art of storytelling. This Danish film is based upon a short story by Karen Blixen (Out of Africa).
The film spends a great deal of its length recalling the stories of the protagonists and how they arrived at their present conditions. The performances are somewhat mannered and deliberate for the extended flashbacks but this is obviously intentional and reflects the bias of the narration.
For those who enjoy gastronomic depictions the feast in the later half of the film is quite enjoyable for its preparation, presentation and its consumption.
The performances are good, their are some beautifully photographed scenes, the feast is a sight to behold but above all this seems to be a film about storytelling.
Though the film is in both Danish and French the deliberate dialogue should make the subtitles very easy for anyone to follow eventhose who dislike subtitles. The DVD includes an English dub but I would strongly urge anyone to watch it in its original form with the subtitles.
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988. -- By: Gregg

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
(Remastered Deluxe Edition) (1975)

Running Time: 35 mins
* General Review Rating... 4/5

(My personal rating: 4 /5 ... What's not to enjoy!)  

Summary: "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz retired from the cartoonist's life early in 2000, and indeed left a few loose strings hanging among his chronically dissatisfied characters. He never did, for instance, cut Charlie Brown much slack in the romance department (or let him kick Lucy's football, for that matter). Sympathetic readers might have taken note of a story in the press just before Schulz said farewell, in which the inspiration for Charlie Brown's unrequited love interest--the never-seen, too-distant, "little red-haired girl"--was identified as a woman who turned down a marriage proposal from Schultz a half-century ago. That bit of biographical detail now adds poignancy to Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, a 1975 television special built upon years of Valentine's Day "Peanuts" strips. This half-hour show finds Charlie Brown suffering, typically, the ignominy of receiving no hearts-and-flowers greetings while the rest of the gang, including Snoopy, spend their day sorting through piles of love notes. Worse, Schulz's famous sad sack can't get up the nerve to approach his unapproachable angel, though there may be--just may be--a glimmer of hope this time around. It may be Valentine's Day, but not much else is different in the "Peanuts" neighborhood. --Tom Keogh ---Amazon.com
Members had their say:
. "Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown" is a worthy addition to the Peanuts pantheon of prime-time holiday specials. Guess how many valentines Charlie Brown Receives? (The painful in-class distribution of cards rings true to my own childhood experience. In my kids' classes, they now require them to bring valentines cards for everyone, probably to avoid the tragi-comic scene that Charles endures so charmingly.) Even funnier is Linus's pining for his teacher, and Sally's mis-reading of the gift-buying by her "sweet babboo." As with all of the best Peanuts videos, this one works on (at least) two levels: Plenty of kid-friendly humor and hijinx, as well as wry dialogue for the more sophisticated viewers. Buy it with confidence. --D. Anderson


[2000] ...Running Time: 122 mins
* General Review Rating... 4/5

(My personal rating: 4 /5 ... the confidence found in this
leading character was breathtakingly inspiring....)

Summary: The most tempting of all sweets becomes the key weapon in a battle of sensual pleasure versus disciplined self-denial in this comedy. In 1959, a mysterious woman named Vianne (Juliette Binoche) moves with her young daughter into a small French village, where much of the community's activities are dominated by the local Catholic church. A few days after settling into town, Vianne opens up a confectionery shop across the street from the house of worship -- shortly after the beginning of Lent. While the townspeople are supposed to be abstaining from worldly pleasures, Vianne tempts them with unusual and delicious chocolate creations, using her expert touch to create just the right candy to break down each customer's resistance. With every passing day, more and more of Vianne's neighbors are succumbing to her sinfully delicious treats, but the Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina), the town's mayor, is not the least bit amused; he is eager to see Vianne run out of town before she leads the town into a deeper level of temptation. Vianne, however, is not to be swayed, and with the help of another new arrival in town, a handsome Irish Gypsy named Roux (Johnny Depp), she plans a "Grand Festival of Chocolate," to be held on Easter Sunday. Based on the novel by Joanne Harris, Chocolat features a distinguished supporting cast, including Judi Dench, Lena Olin, Carrie-Anne Moss, Peter Stormare, Hugh O'Conor, and Leslie Caron. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
. Love story + fairy tale - This is one of my favourite movies. Each actor played admirably: Binoche - the gorgeous and misterious newcomer, Depp - the nomad non-comformist, unable to find his place in the world, Dench - the old, elegant and smart woman, the little oversensitive girl, in search of stability. Alfred Molina proves once again what a great actor he is! Just a gorgeous movie to watch with your sweetheart, but don't forget your chocolates - the whole chocolate affair made me run to the store in the middle of the movie! -- vote4art


[1999] ... Running Time: 93 mins
* General Review Rating... 3 /5

Summary: Best friends Delmar (Jorja Fox) and Hortense (Suzanne Mara) have a gift for making food and for making people laugh. Every week they host a dinner party for their eccentric friends, but they both have the dream of one day extending the party to every night of the week by opening their own restaurant. The problem with their plan is a lack of money, but when Hortense's boyfriend offers Delmar the chance to make the money to make her dream come true, it looks like she could accomplish her goal -- but at what price? Things may not work as planned, but they still might just work. ~ Cammila Albertson, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
. This is a great romantic comedy about 2 ladies who share their passion and love for food,family and friendship.It's a must see!!! --anonymous
. Jorja Fox is absolutly amazing in this film. Who'd of thunk that she would be even more beautiful pregnant??? There was not a single scene she was in that she wasn't glowing!!!!! -- C.J. Freeze

NOTE: For the film Julie and Julia...Click here


[2002] ...Running time: 104 min.
* General Review Rating... 3.5 /5

Summary: Celebrity chef Carl (Aga Muhlach) returns from New York to marry his supermodel fiancée, Chrissy (Rissa Samson). But the bride-to-be is delayed in Europe, and as Carl makes wedding plans with her family, he finds himself falling for Chrissy's sister Lena (Claudine Barretto). Preparations for the nuptials progress, but will there still be a wedding? And if so, whose wedding will it be? Rory B. Quintos directs this romantic drama. --Netflix
Viewers had their say: N/A


[2006] ... Running time: 111 min.
* General Review Rating... 3.5 /5

(My personal rating: 4 /5 ... I loved it... yes, I confess ...
I do sway towards a more favourable opinion when there are
my two favourite topics involved: Food & Travel ...
Couldn’t get enough... I‘ve watched it twice!)

Summary: A woman learns to love life when she finds out she won't be around long in this comedy. Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) lives in New Orleans, where she works in the cookware department of an upscale gourmet supply shop. While Georgia carries a torch for Sean (LL Cool J), one of her co-workers, she doesn't have the nerve to tell him, and despite her estimable skills in the kitchen, she lives frugally and doesn't put her talent to use. Georgia's good friend Rochelle (Jane Adams) often tells her that life is short and she needs to live a little, but she doesn't pay her much mind until a visit to the doctor reveals that Georgia has a very rare medical condition, and only has three weeks to live. Throwing caution to the wind, Georgia cashes out her life savings and heads to Europe for a last bit of revelry. She checks into a four-star hotel, trades her drab clothes for haute couture, finds herself flirting with a handsome and powerful politician (Giancarlo Esposito), convinces the head of a cooking supplies firm (Timothy Hutton) that she's a high-powered executive from a rival company, and makes friends with a four-star chef (Gérard Depardieu). But when Sean learns the truth about Georgia's condition, he sets out to find her before their chance at romance has passed. Directed by Wayne Wang, Last Holiday is a remake of a 1950 British comedy, which starred Alec Guinness as a salesman with a few weeks to live. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
.No surprises... a nice little film.
If you want a down ending or an M. Night Shamalan twist in a film like this then you'd better be looking for a Swedish actor and a German director. This is a light fluffy feel good American style film and there's nothing wrong with that at all in my books.
The only two surprises here are that with two hip hop actors in the film you never once hear a rap song, and even better, there isn't the ever present "Black guy/gal shows uptight white guy/gal how to get jiggy with it" moment.
The role that Queen Latifah plays could have been played by any race and nothing would have changed at all. In fact, I highly doubt that the screenplay even mentions the race of the character. Too bad Hollywood can't get that through their thick skulls more often. I don't need to see Eugene Levy, Jackie Chan or Steve Martin getin' schooled by some street wise brother for the 10,000th time.
Is this the moment that QL steps out of the slapstick one dimensional race roles and becomes a bona fide comedic actress? It all depends on if she has enough integrity to turn down the money on the next movie that pairs her up with the nerdy white chick. She has the acting ability that's for sure.
This movie is a great date film. There are enough laughs that the guys won't be bored, and there is enough romance to keep the ladies happy. I don't remember any gratuitous language or nudity so I'm pretty sure that you could take your kids to this.
You know the ending of the movie before you even walk into the theater and yet the film manages to not insult your intelligence. It's silly, it's cute, it's as predictable as the sunrise and if you really need to just take your mind off the depressing political backstabbing and the latest terrorist bombing then here's your answer. ---Toad

Like Water For Chocolate

[1993] ... Running time: 105 min.
* General Review Rating... 3.5 /5

Summary: Based on the best-selling novel by Laura Esquival, this internationally popular romantic fable from Mexico centers on a young woman who discovers that her cooking has magical effects. The tale's heroine, Tita, is the youngest of three daughters in a traditional Mexican family. Bound by tradition to remain unmarried while caring for her aging mother, Tita nevertheless falls in love with a handsome young man named Pedro. Pedro returns her affection, but he cannot overcome her family's disapproval, and he instead marries Tita's elder sister. The lovestruck young woman is brutally disappointed, and her sadness has such force that it infects her cooking: all who eat it her feel her heartbreak with the same intensity. This newly discovered power continues to manifest itself after the wedding, as Tita and Pedro, overcome by their denied love, embark on a secret affair. Director Alfonso Arau, Esquival's husband at the time, presents the acts of love and cooking with the same glossy, sensual sheen. Indeed, despite occasional digressions into a magical realist tone, the film often takes on the gloss of Hollywood romance. This combination of traditional melodrama and exotic fairy tale proved extremely popular with audiences, particularly in the United States, where it became one of the highest grossing foreign language films at the time. ~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
.Romantic film with a twist. This is an unusual movie that really draws the viewer into the story, and into the lives of Tita and her family. The way that food becomes entwined into the story as Tita cooks is enthralling. A must see movie.
One thing to add to the 'goofs' section: when Pedro gave Tita the roses they were pink, but when she cooks the rose sauce they are red.
Great film about love, honour, duty, and FOOD - Peter_Victoria_BC
The central theme tying all the elements of life together in this film is food and the magical cooking powers of a daughter who has been fated to be unmarried and her mothers servant for her entire life. All the trials she endures are rolled symbolically in the recipes and meals she prepares over the years throughout the film. This is a wonderful film with a lot of nuances. You need to pay attenetion, and every time you see it you'll catch something new. Its a bit dark, but well worth renting if you're in a thinking mood. --Moviegal

(foreign film...aka 'Bella Martha')

[2002] ... Running time: 106 min.
* General Review Rating... 4 /5

Summary: Sandra Nettelbeck spins this gentle drama about how a child's presence can change the lives of the most shy and career-minded of adults. Martha (Martina Gedeck) is the chef of a popular Hamburg eatery who fusses and obsesses over each dish before it leaves the kitchen. The demands of her job and her natural shyness keep her from breaking out of her routine to meet new people. When her sister suddenly dies in a car accident, Martha adopts Lina, her eight-year-old niece. Martha's life soon completely changes -- not only must she adjust herself to new parental role, but she must help Lina deal with her grief over the loss of her mother. Martha gets unexpected help from Mario, Martha's hunky new sous chef, who is not only a whiz on the chopping block but knows sundry magic tricks and jokes to keep Lina's spirits afloat. Just as Martha starts to grow attached to the girl, however, the possibility of Lina returning to the custody of her father arises. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
. Savor This Gentle, Delicious Story I loved this film. At first I wasn't sure because it was German and started a bit "stuck." Nonetheless, I persisted--only another 5 minutes and zing: into a beautiful story hole I was pulled.
The overall flavor has subtle depth and humor. Add in seamless acting and scenes, mixed with believable, interesting and simple characters. Sprinkle on a setting and story so authentic and touching, you feel and want to be there. And, voile'--you have the recipe for a feel-good story with all the elements of earthy authenticity. In that way, it truly fed my eyes and heart. It filled me with hope, joy, sensuous food, tips on parenting and lots of fresh perspecitives on relationships, life and love. Now is that a banquet or what? -- story_seeker


[1998]... Running time: 105 mins
* General Review Rating... 3.5 /5

Summary: Three teenagers learn a lot about life and love one summer in this romantic comedy-drama. Kat (Annabeth Gish), Daisy (Julia Roberts), and Jojo (Lili Taylor) are three working-class women just out of high school who have jobs at the same pizza parlor in the resort community of Mystic, Connecticut. Kat wants to study astronomy at Yale; when she starts baby-sitting for Tim (William R. Moses), a wealthy Yale graduate summering in Mystic, she finds herself falling in love with him, even though he's married and nearly twice her age. Daisy, who isn't sure what she wants from life, starts going with Charlie (Adam Storke), a recent law school dropout, though she starts to think that it may be more to rebel against her family than out of genuine affection. And Jojo is attracted to Bill (Vincent D'Onofrio), but she doesn't want to get married (she's already left him at the altar once); when Bill announces that he's no longer willing to have sex without marriage, she has to decide if his affections are worth a lifetime commitment. Conchata Ferrell appears in a supporting role as Leona, the proprietor of the pizza parlor, who zealously guards the secret formula of her sauce. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Members had their say: 
. Opening sequence: the bride-to-be faints...But this is NOT a wedding movie.
This is a very enjoyable tale about life in Mystic, Connecticut in the 1980's. Three young women are best friends (and two of them are sisters). They work together and spend a lot of free time together and, over the course of a few months, each finds love (or so they think).
One is trying to decide whether or not to marry her sweetheart (played wonderfully by a pre-Law and Order: Criminal Intent Vincent D'Onofrio -- who looks Mighty Fine in his tight underwear at one point in the movie ;) while another is on her way to an ivy-league university in a few months and has to make a choice between an older man and her academic future, and the other woman(a young, stunning Julia Roberts as the sister who never seems to measure up) isn't too sure what to do with her life and an arguement between her and her mother is made all the more realistic and poigniant when the mother says, "I'm worried about you/your future" and the daughter looks at her and says, "So am I."
Will the young couple get married? Will the one sister go on to university or stay with the man she loves? Will the other sister find love?
We liked the light atmosphere of this movie -- it's funny and poigniant, great character development, and it's not weighed down by the usual issues in a movie like this (betrayals, mind-games, etc).
And you just have to see D'Onofrio in his undies. And the porsche-revenge scene is too funny, as is the man running with his pants around his ankles while trying to get away from his grlfriend's insanely angry father in the middle of the night... All in all, time well spent. -- LK


[2007]... Running time: 104 mins
* General Review Rating... 3.5 /5

(My personal rating: 3.5 /5 ... I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Without reservation... it was a very pleasant film)

Summary: Carol Fuchs adapts writer/director Sandra Nettelbeck's screenplay for the 2001 romantic drama Mostly Martha for this Scott Hicks directed remake starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and Patricia Clarkson. Kate Armstrong (Jones) is the master chef who is equally intense both in and out of the kitchen. Though Kate's "Type A" personality serves her well when whipping up meals in the trendy Manhattan eatery where she has made a name for herself, it threatens to sink her when she is named as the guardian of her nine-year-old niece Zoe (Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin). To complicate matters, an impetuous new sous chef named Nick Palmer (Eckhart) has recently joined the kitchen staff and his freewheeling personality seems to stand in direct opposition to Kate's unwavering perfectionism. Yet, despite the fact that they couldn't be more different on the surface, there's no denying the strong attraction between Kate and Nick. As the rivalry between the competitive cooks gradually gives way to romance, the lessons learned by compromising in the kitchen reveal to Kate the importance of learning to openly express herself in order to truly connect with Zoe and find romance with the good-natured Nick. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
.Cute comedy about 2 chefs who find each other in a confusing world. Throw a child into the mix, who comes to live with her Aunt after losing her mother in a tragic accident. Heart warming tale, good acting. --Bobbee N.
. Love always wins when demonstrated for purely unselfish reasons. This was a great teaching film that was full of lessons. It shows how pushing total control to the side opens up the heart long enough to learn how to trust and experience the fullness of life.--Anesa D.


[2003] ... Running time: 94 mins
* General Review Rating... 3.5 /5

(My personal rating: 3.5 /5 ... food and romance...
 with a nice story line ... very nicely done movie.)

Summary: An airy romance in the tradition of classic Hollywood comedies of the Depression Era, Simply Irresistible (1999) also presses into service the food-obsessed magical realism of Like Water for Chocolate (1992). Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Amanda Shelton, the chef at Southern Cross, a trendy Tribeca restaurant she inherited from her legendary mother. Not the most inspired of culinary artists, Amanda is running the establishment into the ground, until a cab-driving, Cupid-like guardian angel (playwright Christopher Durang) intervenes with a magical crab that puts Amanda in the path of slick spin master Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery). Tom is opening a restaurant for his boss Jonathan Bendel (Dylan Baker), who wants to assure the eatery is no less than a four-star affair, but the temperamental French chef is giving fits to Bartlett and his secretary Lois (Patricia Clarkson). Enter Amanda, who falls head over heels for Tom, love suddenly bestowing upon her the gift of infusing her dishes with powerful amorous emotions that overwhelm diners with a rapturous ecstasy. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
. The movie is pretty good. Granted I rented because I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sarah Michelle Gellar, but the story line is pretty predictable even though everyone portrays their character well. It's a somewhat sappy romance, but it's a good, clean (by today's standards) movie. Try it--you might like it! -- By: Marthe E.

Under the Tuscan Sun

[2003] ... Running time: 113 mins
* General Review Rating... 3.5 /5

(My personal rating: 4 /5...Being of Italian origins...I may be a tini-wini bias... I loved it so much...I watched it twice!)

Summary: A woman starts her life over with a new home in a new land in this romantic comedy drama . Frances (Diane Lane) is a writer in her mid-'30s who feels emotionally derailed after her divorce. Unhappy and unable to write, she isn't sure what to do with her life, and her best friend Patti (Sandra Oh) decides she needs some time away from her problems. With that in mind, Patti gives Frances a ticket for a two-week tour of the Tuscany region of Italy; while there, Frances finds a dilapidated old villa. Charmed by the warmth, beauty, and charm of the small town of Cortona, Frances impulsively decides to buy the villa, thinking she can fix it up herself. The home proves to be more of a handyman's special than she imagined, but as she slowly gets the hang of household maintenance, Italian style, Frances develops a new confidence as she makes friends with her neighbors and finds love with a handsome local named Marcello (Raoul Bova). Under the Tuscan Sun is loosely adapted from the memoir by Frances Mayes, who (unlike the leading character of the film) remained happily married during her sojourn in Tuscany. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Members had their say:
. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was not predictable. It kept me wondering what would happen throughout the movie, and what did happen was often unexpected. I came away not knowing all the answers, but I like movies that just give me a glimpse into someone's life, rather than the whole story. The actors and their characters were refreshing. I will not be bored watching it again and again. --Margery C.

I hope that you and your loved ones get the chance
 to enjoy some of these lovely films around this time.
Well, for now...
this is the end of the road.
Tune in for updates as more...
'Romance by Food' films are reviewed.
If I've missed a movie you've seen...
and it received very good ratings...
please do not hesitate to share it with us.

Help me keep this list as updated as possible...greatly appreciated.

Has any one of these films piqued your curiosity?
Is it enough to make your 'MUST SEE' list?

Flavourful wishes and happy viewing,

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

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