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

NC-17  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  6 April 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 25,716 users  
Reviews: 173 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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5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Crime | Drama


NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

6 April 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spica  »

Box Office


$7,724,701 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo in selected theatres)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


[In a book depository]
Georgina: Are we safe here?
Michael: Does Albert read?
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 »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Bon apetit, Albert, that's French"...
4 June 2007 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Revenge has never been served so deliciously and artistically. The visuals, the costumes, the set decoration, the changing colors cinematography and the soundtrack in this darker than dark comedy are stunning - the grandmasters were working on the movie. Among them Peter Greenaway, first and foremost a painter and a fine one, his brilliant cinematographer Sasha Verny, his astounding composer Michael Nyman who used for the movie the incredible "Memorial", and Jean-Paul Gaultier who designed the costumes. It also helped that Helen Mirren (as the long suffering wife, Georgina who in the end will serve her husband very well cooked revenge) and Michael Gambon (Albert- the thief, the gangster, the embodiment of pure evil and the owner of the swank restaurant) were two stars. Alan Howard plays a regular guest to whom Georgina is attracted to and carries on an affair with in the restaurant's restrooms and later in the back rooms, with the help of the Artist-cook (Richard Bohringer).

Every frame of each Greenaway's movie looks and feels like an exquisite painting. "A Zed and two Naughts" is Greenaway's homage and admiration for Vermeer. "The Draughtsman's Contract" quite openly refers to Caravaggio, Georges de la Tour and other French and Italian artists. "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover", a fully realized vision of the director, a professional painter Peter Greenaway, is his tribute to the great Flemish and Dutch painters, Frans Hals, in particular. His large group portrait is constantly seen in the background of the hall in the London restaurant Le Hollandais that means "The Dutchman". I see Peter Greenaway as Hieronymus Bosch of the cinema, the creator of enormously beautiful, divine canvas depicting all horrors of hell that only humans can inflict on one another.

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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
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