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The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

NC-17 | | Crime, Drama | 6 April 1990 (USA)
The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant.

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Writer:

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4,697 ( 22)

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6 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard
...
...
...
Michael
...
Mitchel
...
Cory (as Ciaran Hinds)
Gary Olsen ...
Spangler
...
Harris
...
Turpin (as Roger Ashton Griffiths)
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Mews
...
Grace
...
Patricia
Janet Henfrey ...
Alice
Arnie Breeveld ...
Eden
Tony Alleff ...
Troy
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Storyline

The wife of a barbaric crime boss engages in a secretive romance with a gentle bookseller between meals at her husband's restaurant. Food, colour coding, sex, murder, torture and cannibalism are the exotic fare in this beautifully filmed but brutally uncompromising modern fable which has been interpreted as an allegory for Thatcherism. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Greenaway's recipe of food and sex mixed with art is both delicious and wonderfully wicked. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

6 April 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spica  »

Box Office

Gross:

$7,724,701 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo in selected theatres)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The mural on the back wall of the dining room is "The Banquet of the Officers of the St. George Militia of Haarlem" (1616) by Frans Hals. It became the basis for Peter Greenaway's set decoration & costuming in the dining area. See more »

Goofs

When Albert (Michael Gambon) goes into the ladies' toilet and starts throwing women out of the cubicles, the second one has, as you would expect, her underwear around her knees. But her skirt rides right up, revealing that she is still wearing her underwear, and that the ones below are a prop. See more »

Quotes

Albert: Now I've given you a good dinner, you can have a nice drink.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: "And a special thanks to those very many people who patiently & repeatedly performed as patients & nurses in the hospital ward, and as diners in the Hollandais Restaurant." See more »


Soundtracks

Book Depository
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by The Michael Nyman Band
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Divine Comedy

Imagine the universe as a restaurant. The parking lot is the world. The kitchen is purgatory. The ladies's room is heaven. The dining room is hell. Hell is ruled over by Albert Spica, (Satan) excellently played by Michael Gobon. Dante is Michael (Alan Howard) a cataloger of French books. Beatrice, Dante's perfect woman, Georgina Spica (Helen Mirren) who is married to the devil.

In the beginning, the cook (God) in the real world is seen kicked and smeared and fed dog feces by Gabon. He is humiliated and in tears, but He endures and eventually helps to further the love between Howard and MIrren. Sex, in its pure form, is looked at as something sacred. Gabon lords over everyone in his realm with a tyrant's fist, caring nothing about anyone or anything. He wants two three things out of life—superiority to all other being, food and sex, while Mirren, as a reluctant Persephone, sneaks off to be with Howard. A couple of times Gabon even finds his way into the sanctity of heaven, but this is only short-lived.

The mood of the film is dark-black, heralded by brilliant reds or greens, and the tenor of an angelic child throughout. Every image is like a painting. Emotions creep in from all directions.

This is a film that would never, no matter what year it was produced, have won an Academy Award. It is too refined, to subtle, too sensual, too intelligent.

Watch it, rent it, buy it. It must be seen.


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