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Charming and beautiful, 28 April 2002

Absolutely do not listen to this moron (Bowen) who failed to see the beauty in this film. Laura Esquivel's novel translates wonderfully into film. The story follows the life of Tita and her struggle with tradition in a strict Mexican household circa the early 20th Century. There are so many excellent metaphors linking food with emotion, and the correlation of Tita's familial/social revolution with her sister Gertrudis' literal political and sexual revolution add many layers to this deep and funny fairy tale. To fully comprehend the characters' actions, the viewer needs to accept the constraints of that time period, the context. Obviously, anyone who finds this story "empty" lacks both romance and brains.

11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
A depressing misrepresentation, 31 March 2001

Contrary to others who may think this film is some sort of tribute to living life to the fullest, it is completely depressing, pessimistic, and detestible. There is not one likeable character in the entire film. Zorba is a jackass who f***s up the lives of everyone he comes in contact with because of his selfish "zest" for life, i.e., wasting other people's time and money while lying to them. He's a man who has left his wife and family behind with no regret and works odd jobs, including wrecking Basil's mine and depleting his money. Basil thinks this is wonderful. Why? It's almost as if Basil has latent gay love for Zorba. One of the 2 most disturbing moments in the film is when the widow (Irene Pappas) is murdered in broad daylight by a crowd which is angry that she has somehow driven an unrequited lover to suicide. Basil does nothing, even though the widow's his love interest (interestingly though Basil did not previously sleep with the widow). Zorba tries to protect the widow, but she's still murdered, her throat slit like a lamb to the slaughter. INCREDIBLY, Zorba and Basil go on about their business like this is some sort of acceptable crime. WHAT THE HELL!! The level of mysogyny is disturbing.

Then, when the French hotel woman dies, the author/director maligns the poor villagers (and the people of Greece) by making them look like vultures that steal her possessions before she's even croaked. This isn't a celebration of life, but a sad portrayal of common people as evil idiots. I wish this story had never been made into a film.