7.6/10
30,931
184 user 73 critic

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

NC-17 | | Crime, Drama | 6 April 1990 (USA)
The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
Reviews
Popularity
3,371 ( 134)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three generations of women all share the same problem: marriage woes, and they want to put an end to it.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Bernard Hill, Joan Plowright, Juliet Stevenson
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young artist is commissioned by the wife of a wealthy landowner to make a series of drawings of the estate while her husband is away.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Anthony Higgins, Janet Suzman, Anne-Louise Lambert
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Twin zoologists lose their wives in a car accident and become obsessed with decomposing animals.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Brian Deacon, Eric Deacon, Andréa Ferréol
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An architect supervising an exhibition starts to have mysterious stomach pains while his life begins to fall apart.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Brian Dennehy, Chloe Webb, Lambert Wilson
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A movie about the corruption in all levels of society. A baby is born from a supposed-to-be virgin woman, so a chain of hysteria about divine intervention in the birth takes place.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: Julia Ormond, Ralph Fiennes, Philip Stone
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The magician Prospero attempts to stop his daughter's affair with an enemy.

Director: Peter Greenaway
Stars: John Gielgud, Michael Clark, Michel Blanc
Edit

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 Janet Henfrey ... Alice
Arnie Breeveld Arnie Breeveld ... Eden
Tony Alleff Tony Alleff ... Troy
Edit

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 which has been interpreted as an allegory for Thatcherism. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Lust...Murder...Dessert. Bon Appetit! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

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 »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The mural on the back wall of the dining room is "The Banquet of the Officers of the St. George Militia of Haarlem" (1616) by Frans Hals. It became the basis for Peter Greenaway's set decoration & costuming in the dining area. 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

Georgina: Yes! He's a man. He's Jewish and he's from Ethiopia!
Albert: What?
Georgina: His mother is a Roman Catholic, he's been imprisoned in South Africa, he's as black as the ace of spades and he probably drinks his own pee!
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 »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Best Films of 1990 (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Memorial
Written by Michael Nyman
Performed by The Michael Nyman Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

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.


181 of 236 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 184 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed