Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
A veteran chef faces off against his restaurant group's new CEO, who wants to the establishment to lose a star from its rating in order to bring in a younger chef who specializes in molecular gastronomy.
Nicolas, a handsome, young waiter, is befriended by Frédéric Delamont, a wealthy middle-aged businessman. Delamont, a man of power, influence and strictly refined tastes, is immediately ... See full summary »
For six months of the year, renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adrià closes his restaurant El Bulli and works with his culinary team to prepare the menu for the next season. An elegant, detailed ... See full summary »
Hortense Laborie is a celebrated chef living in the Perigord region. To her great surprise, the President of the Republic appoints her as his personal cook. She accepts reluctantly but once she has accepted her nomination, Hortense works her heart and soul to produce both a stylish and authentic cuisine. For a while, she manages to impose herself thanks to her sturdy character and despite the jealousies she arouses among the other chefs. For a while only, unfortunately for her and for... the President. Written by
It is a strange thing that food and the movies go so well together. Strange because the show on a screen of food being prepared or being consumed should be anything but palatable insofar as it can be seen but not tasted or even smelled. And yet, the eating process, whether it is the main subject of a movie ('Babette's Feast', 'Eat Drink Man Woman', 'A Chef in Love', among others) or only an incidental feature (most strikingly so in nearly all of Hitchcock or Chabrol's thrillers), is not far from being a guarantee of quality. The reason may lie in the fact that directors who choose as their heroes characters cooking or eating refined food also vote for what is associated with it: the art of living ; as a matter of fact hedonism is a notion that passes directly from authors to viewers without the disadvantage of frustration. Whatever the explanation, the rule is verified once again with "Les Saveurs du Palais", eclectic French filmmaker Christian Vincent's last opus. The main theme is of course haute cuisine, which would have been enough to make a good film, but the good news is that there is even more to "Les saveurs du Palais" than that. Not only will this fine movie make your mouth water but it will also give you food... for thought!
The story, somewhat loosely adapted from Danièle Delpeuch's memoirs, concerns Hortense Laborie (as Delpeuch is renamed in the film), French President François Mitterand's personal chef from 1988 to 1990. The chronicle of the two and a half years she spent in the kitchens of the Elysée Palace allow Christian Vincent to tell a multi-layered tale : "Les Saveurs du Palais" does not simply bear witness to the mastery of its hero's art of cooking it also makes the viewer discover little- tread territory (the presidential cooks' machismo, the rivalry between the Elysée Palace's two restaurant services, the new supremacy of technocrats who favor budget cuts over creativity, the tastes changing with the passing of time, the rather pathetic portrait of a President at the end of his rope). Continued interest is therefore ensured. The construction in flashback form is interesting and the direction good without being ostentatious. But what really determines the success of the film is the choice of its star, Catherine Frot. The actress is indeed just perfect in her role: she is every inch Hortense Laborie and arouses immediate identification. Another added value is Arthur Dupont in the role of her assistant. The young performer displays a very likable charm, made of bashfulness mixed with irony. The "couple" he forms with Catherine Frot is simply irresistible. To make a long story short, "Les saveurs du palais" is both a sensual and intelligent movie that will delight wide audiences. And I presume that you will be in that number. And that is not all, you can even double your pleasure by... having your meal AFTER seeing Christian Vincent's little treat, instead of BEFORE. Such a move will doubtless give an Elysian taste to what otherwise would have been mere food!
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?