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

NC-17  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  6 April 1990 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 24,824 users  
Reviews: 172 user | 68 critic

The wife of an oafish restaurant owner becomes bored with her husband and considers an affair with a regular patron.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard
...
...
...
Michael
...
Mitchel
...
Cory (as Ciaran Hinds)
Gary Olsen ...
Spangler
Ewan Stewart ...
Harris
...
Turpin (as Roger Ashton Griffiths)
...
Mews
Liz Smith ...
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:

Lust...Murder...Dessert. Bon Appetit!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

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

First of four on-screen collaborations between Michael Gambon and Ciarán Hinds, culminating in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), in which they play brothers Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore. See more »

Quotes

Albert: Looks like catfood for constipated French rabbits!
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 »

Connections

References Cannibal Holocaust (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Bon appetit.
6 June 2003 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Writer/Director Peter Greenaway teams up again with cinematographer Sacha Vierny and composer Michael Nyman, delivering a banquet of sound and colour, light and dark. And dark and dark. A simple if disturbing morality tale sits atop a canvas of grotesque characters, carefully-composed frames and revolting details. The restaurant setting forces analogues with a meal, and it's easy to oblige - a rather formal affair, bordering on pretentious, with its influences conspicuous - sumptuous, exotic, intoxicating, memorable, if perhaps too rich and over-long, and it plays havoc with the digestion.

As acquired a taste as any of Greenaway's work, and by no means an unqualified triumph. This film does not deliver on all its promises. But at least they were big promises. Try a piece - if you don't like it, you can always go back to your burgers and fries.

Nine out of ten.

Notes:

1. Michael Gambon's "Albert Spica" (the Thief of the title) surely ranks as one of cinema's all-time nastiest villains. Sorry Darth - no cigar.

2. The title of this film has become a template for headlines in British newspapers, e.g. "The A, the B, his C and her D". Don't ask me why.

3. "Cook/Thief" is one of four similar and inter-related films that Greenaway made during the 1980s, the others being "The Belly of an Architect", "A Zed and Two Noughts" and "Drowning by Numbers". While "Cook/Thief" stole all the headlines with its snazzy visuals and outrageous grotesquery - not to mention various collisions with the censors - For me, "Drowning" is the best of the bunch. And somewhat easier on the eye (and stomach).


23 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Albert Spica, the most odious film character ever. leucrottabob
More artistic movies like this? panospcm
Out of print? joenonneman
Why this movie isn't on the top 250 is beyond me... bplex
Ludicrous theory (to be taken with a grain of salt) AudemarsPiguet
Great Fan, but having a big frustration... What about you? paulpenet

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