On Friday, the film adaptation of The Hundred-Foot Journey will open (my review will run Friday as well). It’s a movie about food and cooking and love. And it got me thinking about how many films there are that deal with food in central ways — sometimes as romantic and personal, sometimes as something a little stranger.
So I compiled this list of 13 films — a baker’s dozen! — that represent some aspect of food, food criticism, consumption, eating and the like to whet your appetite. Drink up!
1. Ratatouille (2007). Pixar’s (and, by extension, Disney’s) best film ever is this unlikely charmer about a rat who loves to cook, but being a vermin is unwelcome in most kitchens (there’s always Arby’s). A film that pays closer attention to the details of the real fine dining scene more than any other, it’s not only beautiful but a canny depiction of the critic-chef relationship.
2. Babette’s Feast (1987). This Oscar winner for best foreign language film depicts a Danish household where privation is a way of life, and what happens when a French housekeeper breaks with tradition and hosts a magical dinner. It’s tantalizing and conjures the exquisite longing that food can represent for us emotionally.
3. Sideways (2004). What Ratatouille is to cuisine, Sideways is to wine: On point, evocative and full of complex, passionate relationships. Famous for its “I’m not drinking any fucking merlot!” line, pay attention to the wine the anti-hero is sipping near the end. Complex did I say? Oh, yes.
4. Toast (2011). This film adaptation of the memoir by gay British gourmand and critic Nigel Slater is a tender coming-of-age film and an elegant battle royal in the kitchen between a young man and his stepmonster.
5. Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978). An oldie-but-goodie, this 1970s caper film concerns great chefs being slowly eliminated by a mysterious killer who turns their own techniques on them. But why? A sumptuous romantic comedy, the cake-making scene (a huge bombe) is alone enough to turn you diabetic.