the Taste of Things

February 16, 202480/1005 min
Starring
Juliette Binoche, Benoît Magimel, Emmanuel Salinger
Written by
Marcel Rouff ( novel ). Anh Hung Tran ( screenplay)
Directed by
Anh Hung Tran
Run Time
2h 15min
Release Date
February 16th, 2024
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Fifteen minutes into Anh Hung Tran’s film, The Taste of Things, you’ll simply regret it if you came hungry. As a people, I think it is safe to say we love to watch meals being expertly prepared and cooked, at least judging from the number of cooking shows currently streaming. I have never claimed to be a good cook; I can get by and cook some things, but I lack the patience to create things in the kitchen, like the works of art some can do. That didn’t stop me from feeling differently after watching the Taste of Things,’as this movie inspired me to want to learn cooking. Will it do the same for you?

Somewhere in the French countryside, there sits a manor owned by the ‘Napoleon of the culinary art,’ a man named Dobin (Benoît Magimel). With him is his beloved cook named Eugénie (Juliette Binoche), and together they make beautiful music in the kitchen. The love for cooking and food isn’t the only thing that Eugénie and Dobin share; there is also a deep love for each other. There is a paradise feel to it all, but every paradise has a darkness, and in this case, it is the fainting spells that plague Eugénie. They come without notice, and while Eugénie plays them off, Dobin senses there must be a health reason for why she is fainting. Nonetheless, they can’t keep Eugénie out of the kitchen, as she and Dobin will entrance you with the magic they create in the kitchen.

From its dreamlike opening half-hour, the table is set on what you are going to get. Anh Hung Tran takes us through that opening with hardly a word spoken and very few cuts, as you flow through the kitchen, watching the emergence of a feast being created. Based on the novel by Marcel Rouff, Anh Hung Tran will intoxicate you, both visually and audibly, as they take a patient look at the process of cooking. There is almost a musical feel to what we are seeing, as each person in the kitchen moves with a certain grace, and the sounds of the kitchen work as a score for them. It is all incredibly seductive, especially for all the food lovers out there, as the Taste of Things serves the perfect dish.

I loved how much the Taste of Things romanticizes this particular process, and while some might have wanted sharper focus, I would rather live in this visually stunning world about the art and culture of cooking. The cast is fantastic, and as much as I can praise the work of Magimel, it is the great Binoche that makes this the perfect meal. This film sizzles, and it is a joy to watch a film so simple yet so tasty, as you will want to devour every bit of this peaceful conception of life served up so brilliantly. This movie will awaken all your senses and leave you very satisfied, yet craving so much more.

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