In my life, one measure of cinematic greatness is if a movie successfully illustrates a sliver of life you hadn't thought of before. If what I see opens up my heart and mind in a new way, if it touches me emotionally and that feeling lingers after I leave the theater, then I know it's done its job and is a really good movie.
Which leads me to the topic of great food movies. These are a rare breed inspired by the story of a person, a family, or a community. They contain marvelous food scenes, mostly in the foreground. And there aren't too many of them.
On the flip side, there are probably more non-food movies that contain bits of food in the background...with dear old friends cooking together in the kitchen, family BBQ's, children running across a field with fresh baked bread in hand, famous restaurant scenes. The point of these movies isn't food, though as a background item food is woven into the storyline in moments. Blow that up to a whole movie about food, and a mirror is created that illustrates our passion for the importance of food in our lives, reminding us how much it means to us and that we should never take it for granted.
The following list focuses on food movies that communicate the intense joy of food and how it impacts our lives in a poetic way (of course some are more powerful than others). The list is not complete, so if I've left any worthy entries out please let me know. After watching these, don't be surprised if you are inspired to run to the gourmet shop and hit the kitchen.
Food Movies (in alphabetical order):
- Babette's Feast
- Big Night
- Dinner Rush (more of a restaurant behind-the-scenes)
- Eat Drink Man Woman
- Like Water for Chocolate
- Mostly Martha (not sure this belongs?, just remade in US)
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (original version)
This list does not include:
- Chocolat -- Because to me, this is a movie that pitched itself as a food movie when in fact it was really only a movie movie.
- Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle -- 'Nuf said
- Simply Irresistible -- Made me want to make éclairs again, but just a cheesy 1-star shoulda-been-a-movie-of-the-week (tho props to Patricia Clarkson and Dylan Baker)
- Tortilla Soup -- Made on the tails of Eat Drink Man Woman with little impact
- Wild Strawberries -- I don't think this is a food movie! (if it is, someone lemme know)