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When Maribel (Tamara Mello) learns her Brazilian boyfriend Andy
(Nikolai Kinski) speaks 5 languages. She's duly impressed. She zings a
question: "What do you call a person who speaks several languages?" He
quickly responds: "A polyglot?"..."OK," She continues, "and a person
who speaks 2 languages?"..."Ahhh, BEE-lingual?" He says, flubbing the
pronunciation. Her final question: "And what about a person who speaks
only ONE Language?" "Ahhhhh" He pauses, prompting her to answer her own
rhetorical question/cultural joke: "
In a way, this joke almost sums up the movie. Those of you who are fluent in 2 or more languages, will probably get it. Many of you who are MONO-lingual might shrug your shoulders, smirk, and simply say..."Yeah, So WHAT?!?" For years, I have put off seeing SOUP because it was a remake of EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN. Big mistake, that! Now just because I've rated this 9* (vs.8.5* for EAT DRINK) doesn't mean I expect most of you to rate it 8* or higher!
Look, SOUP takes place in L.A., where I grew up. Also, all my life I've been exposed to bilingual/bicultural Hispanic families from many different countries! Certainly, SOUP is far from perfect, but I loved it. WHY? First, I thought Raquel Welch (Birth name: Jo Raquel Tejada, of Bolivian/Irish parents) was absolutely hilarious. What a talented comedienne What uncanny timing and delivery! Such a tragedy she isn't offered more juicy roles, like this one.
She was 60 years old when this was made! WOW! BTW-You wouldn't happen to have her phone number, would you? Interesting Wikipedia fact: Welch was the last star created under the star system! Well integrated cast (no pun intended) delivering a delightful ensemble performance. Hector Elizondo's Spanish, oddly enough, was slightly off and belied the fact that his character was an immigrant, but his nuanced performance made that easy to overlook. WARNING: Don't watch this movie with an appetite! It would be torture 9*STARS*...ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!
Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Viewed on Netflix streaming video.
Hector Elizondo is Martin Naranjo, superb chef for Mexican food, not the type we get from the inexpensive corner Mexican restaurants all over Texas, but real gourmet Mexican food. He has been a widow for 15 years and raising 3 daughters in the Los Angeles area.
Martin is a traditionalist. Every Sunday he cooks a gourmet dinner for his family, and they use the setting for family conversation. It seems recently that each Sunday dinner is accompanied by a big surprise. The youngest daughter may not want to go to college right away, instead taking a year off "to find herself." Daughter number two is considering taking a great opportunity in Barcelona. The oldest, a teacher, finds a new boyfriend, the baseball coach at school.
The daughters are Jacqueline Obradors as Carmen, Tamara Mello as Maribel, and Elizabeth Peña as Leticia. Adding spice is Raquel Welch as Hortensia, the single mother of a family friend and who has her eye on Martin.
Good movie, explores family dynamics and each member "finding themselves."
Some movies just make you feel good. 'Tortilla Soup' is certainly one
It is the story of a widowed master chef living with his three grown daughters (The premise made me think of the classic Charles Laughton film 'Hobson's Choice.') A fun film, with good dialogue, a sparkling cast and a sweet spirit, it is both hilarious and touching.
Hector Elzondo plays Martin Naranjo, a master chef who has lost most of his sense of smell and taste. (I'm still not sure if he still owns his restaurant, or if he now only helps out there.) He is still living with his daughters, who appear to range in age from about 18 to 30.
Leticia (Elizabeth Pena) is the oldest, an old-maid chemistry teacher who is devoutly devoted to God, her dad and her teaching. Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors) is the middle daughter, who loves to cook, but whom her father has pressed to get an MBA and pursue a career in big business. Maribel (Tamara Mello) has apparently just graduated from high school and is expected to start college soon.
The family is wonderful together. Martin insists on family dinners being respected. He prepares huge restraint-style Mexican meals and expects everyone to be on time and pleasant. With three women under one roof for too many years, though, that isn't often possible.
As the story progresses, everyone finds romance, including Martin. The sisters are fantastic together and each one is fun to watch individually. Stand-up comic Paul Rodriguez is perfect as the high school baseball coach who steals Letty's heart, while Nikolai Kinski is very good as Maribel's Brazilian heartthrob. Former bombshell Raquel Welsh, meanwhile, shows guts at age 60 in playing an over-the-hill near-floozy to perfection. (I am reminded of 1930s love goddess Dorothy Lamour's similar role in 'Donovan's Reef.') Constance Marie, meanwhile, is totally lovable as her daughter Yolando.
Director Maria Ripoll, who has only directed a handful of films, showed an amazingly deft touch both in the dramatic scenes and especially in the comedic sequences. There are some wonderful moments, including the final dinner together, when Letty and Orlando (Rodriguez) attempt to explain their situation. Elzondo's expression is simply priceless. The same can be said each time he waits to give the 'amen' to Letty's ever-longer blessings before meals.
This is another fine little film that went under the radar. Like 'Off the Map,' 'Eulogy,' 'The Shipping News,' 'An Unfinished Life' and a handful of other little-seen gems of the past decade, this is a delight for anyone who stumbles across it. I recommend at least one large helping of 'Tortilla Soup.'
I liked Hector Elizondo ever since I saw him in "Pretty Woman" and this
movie is definitely no exception.
All right, I admit it. I like "chick flicks" and I'm not afraid to admit it. I can sit in front of this computer and glance at the television screen each time the scene changes and not have to look back. This is one of those films, but when Elizondo gets to cooking, all I can do is sit there and stare in envy at some of the things he can do with food. As much as he's succeeded with his profession in the kitchen, he sort of feel likes he's failed in the family department; not so much because any of his three daughters have failed at anything (quite the contrary), but because he feels like he's failed in teaching his family heritage to them and its values. He also feels pride in his work as a very accomplished chef, even though, as we find out early on, he's lost his sense of taste.
Change happens in all families, and this family is no exception, but, as with everything else, change either brings us closer together in trying to overcome different adversities and obstacles, or drives us further apart. I'd recommend this movie to anyone who wonders about their values and where they should be going in life.
9 out of 10 stars!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tortilla Soup is a Mexican-American remake of Ang Lee's earlier Eat Drink Man Woman. Hector Elizondo stars as a family patriarch facing a late life crisis, living with three adult daughters: Elizabeth Pena, Jacqueline Obradors, and Tamara Mello. Each daughter has her own interpersonal crisis to face as well: Being socially withdrawn, trying to please one's parent instead of one's self, and trying to find one's identity distinct from one's family. Mexican cuisine is at the center of the comedy/drama prepared by Elizondo's chef character for each Sunday dinner. At each gathering, a different person expresses proposals to the others present as solutions to their dilemmas. Throw a sizzling, marriage-minded widow into the mix, played by Raquel Welch, and stir with her adult daughter (Constance Marie) who is a single mother and the soup is just right. The script is somewhat weak and formulaic because this is simply a remake, but the actors all shine and make the most of the material, especially Elizabeth Pena (as a withdrawn schoolteacher) and Paul Rodriguez (as a high school coach). The cinematography is sumptuous, especially the food scenes; the colors are reminiscent of Mexican culture. The music is wonderfully lively with ethnic flavoring, especially the very famous Spanish song "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps". *** of 4 stars.
This is the best performance by Hector Elizondo! All of the cast was excellent. I found the movie to be very moving and witty. I never saw the original version but the adaptation is just great. To me this is one of the all time great movies, it brings you along with the sentiments of the family. The cooking scenes are excellent! The story is fantastic! There are some twists and turns that help the movie along, I would rather not give away the ending nor too much information so I won't reveal too much. I would say that as a Hispanic this movie just blew me away and as a single father of four girls with two at home, I can relate to it just fine. The credits say that the song is sung by Doris Day and it may be but for the credits, I just have to believe that it is not her!
A father with three very different kind of daughters, the food that
binds the family together...what more can you ask for in this movie?
Though Mexican-American Martin has lost his sense of taste, he always manages to whip up great Mexican dinner for his three single daughters. The eldest - a career-minded woman, the middle child - a teacher and the youngest - still a student. The three daughters have always wanted to find their real purpose in life, outside of the family's circles. This is where the clashes occurred, especially between the youngest one and the father.
While the girls tried to find their real identity, their father is also seeking out another woman in his life since his wife passed away years ago.
And they all much later realised that there's more than it meets the eye in terms of family ties.
I had actually no idea that this is a remake of Ang Lee's 'Eat Drink Man Woman' till I saw the opening credits. I had never seen that one yet though. Anyhow, this movie is just beautiful.
This was a very nice story, with lot's of GREAT cooking. You may have to love cooking to completely get this movie though. But in my opinion, it does have very good acting. And LOT'S of food. Don't go into it expecting Oscar winning performances or anything like that. But, with an interesting cast of characters like we have here, lot's of fun things can happen. The story is able to take a few turns that were unexpected and help make this movie more fascinating than it might have been otherwise. Have a big meal before hand too, or you'll be starving by the end. Then, just sit back, relax, and enjoy it for what it is, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I was.
"Tortilla Soup" is a Chicano adaptation of Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man
Woman" and I enjoyed it just as much if not more, partly because it was
nice to see Latino actors and actresses playing Latinos, as they don't
always get to do, such as Hector Elizondo, and because they really felt
like a family.
In the Lee original, I felt the patriarch's gorgeous home meal preparation was the same as his restaurant work, while here I got much more of a sense of a family gathering and eating, as in "What's Cooking."
The family announcements at each meal accentuate that eating at home with a parent isn't just an aesthetic experience, but a psychological and sociological one.
The audience, including me, really got into the three sisters' romantic and housekeeping travails, with each making their own way in a realistic world, yet reflecting their father's upbringing, each in her sexy own way.
Latino and Brazilian music is beautifully used to reflect each family member's romance and the sisters together.
But the credits didn't really answer if Elizondo had a stunt double for all that deft slicing and dicing.
(originally written 9/9/2001)
Another user claimed this movie seemed familiar and decided this was because this was a formula movie. Wrong! It may have seemed familiar because it is written by the same screenwriter who wrote a Chinese film called Eat drink man woman. This has the same plot except it takes place in America! Yin shi nan nu (1994) ,Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) (USA)
Retired Master Chef Chu lives in a large house in Taipei with his three unmarried daughters, Jia-Jen, a chemistry teacher converted to Christianity, Jia-Chien, an airline executive, and Jia-Ning, a student who also works in a fast food restaurant. Life in the house revolves around the ritual of an elaborate dinner each Sunday, and the love lives of all the family members.
Same plot of this movie, take a look!
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