7.6/10
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193 user 85 critic

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

NC-17 | | Crime, Drama | 6 April 1990 (USA)
Trailer
1:09 | Trailer
At Le Hollandais gourmet restaurant, every night is filled with opulence, decadence, and gluttony. But when the cook, a thief, his wife and her lover all come together, they unleash a shocking torrent of sex, food, murder and revenge.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
Reviews
Popularity
4,195 ( 234)
7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Bohringer ... Richard
Michael Gambon ... Albert
Helen Mirren ... Georgina
Alan Howard ... Michael
Tim Roth ... Mitchel
Ciarán Hinds ... Cory (as Ciaran Hinds)
Gary Olsen Gary Olsen ... Spangler
Ewan Stewart ... Harris
Roger Ashton-Griffiths ... Turpin (as Roger Ashton Griffiths)
Ron Cook ... Mews
Liz Smith ... Grace
Emer Gillespie ... Patricia
Janet Henfrey ... Alice
Arnie Breeveld Arnie Breeveld ... Eden
Tony Alleff 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. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Greenaway's recipe of food and sex mixed with art is both delicious and wonderfully wicked. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dog excrement was actually chocolate mousse. See more »

Goofs

When Albert (Michael Gambon) goes into the ladies' toilet and starts throwing women out of the cubicles, the second one has, as you would expect, her underwear around her knees. But her skirt rides right up, revealing that she is still wearing her underwear, and that the ones below are a prop. See more »

Quotes

Albert: Looks like catfood for constipated French rabbits!
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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 »

Alternate Versions

An edited, R-rated version is available on video. See more »


Soundtracks

Miserere
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by Michael Nyman Band & Orchestra with London Voices
Chorus conducted by Terry Edwards
Additional Vocals by Doreen Walker, Elisabeth Harrison, Gareth Roberts, Geoffrey Shaw, Gordon Jones, Judith Rees, Lesley Reid, Simon Davies and Sue Anderson
Main Vocals by Paul Chapman
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User Reviews

 
The Divine Comedy
22 March 2001 | by Minerva_MeybridgeSee all my reviews

Imagine the universe as a restaurant. The parking lot is the world. The kitchen is purgatory. The ladies's room is heaven. The dining room is hell. Hell is ruled over by Albert Spica, (Satan) excellently played by Michael Gobon. Dante is Michael (Alan Howard) a cataloger of French books. Beatrice, Dante's perfect woman, Georgina Spica (Helen Mirren) who is married to the devil.

In the beginning, the cook (God) in the real world is seen kicked and smeared and fed dog feces by Gabon. He is humiliated and in tears, but He endures and eventually helps to further the love between Howard and MIrren. Sex, in its pure form, is looked at as something sacred. Gabon lords over everyone in his realm with a tyrant's fist, caring nothing about anyone or anything. He wants two three things out of life—superiority to all other being, food and sex, while Mirren, as a reluctant Persephone, sneaks off to be with Howard. A couple of times Gabon even finds his way into the sanctity of heaven, but this is only short-lived.

The mood of the film is dark-black, heralded by brilliant reds or greens, and the tenor of an angelic child throughout. Every image is like a painting. Emotions creep in from all directions.

This is a film that would never, no matter what year it was produced, have won an Academy Award. It is too refined, to subtle, too sensual, too intelligent.

Watch it, rent it, buy it. It must be seen.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Netherlands | UK | France

Language:

English | French | Dutch

Release Date:

6 April 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$252,223, 8 April 1990

Gross USA:

$7,724,701

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,724,701
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (as Dolby Stereo in selected theatres)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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