Review: The Taste of Things

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Title: The Taste of Things
MPA Rating: PG-13
Director: Anh Hung Tran
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Benoît Magimel, Emmanuel Salinger
Runtime: 2 hrs 15 mins

What It Is: Monsieur Dodin (Magimel) is a world-renowned gastronome. A man of incredible taste and even more incredible skill in the kitchen. He however is nothing without his cook Eugénie (Boniche) who’s been working with him for over 2 decades. Their bond, which started out in the kitchen has blossomed into a different room and a romance of sorts has sparked. Now the kitchen isn’t the only place with some heat in it.

What We Think: This film is absolutely stellar. From the incredible chemistry between Magimel and Binoche to the beautiful sweeping camera Tran uses it all has this grandiose feel to it. Every scene featuring food conjures images of films like Big Night. Tran for his part let’s scenes, like a good coq a vin, simmer. His hand delicate enough to keep the best souffle upright. His eye and vision for this film really play well as an audience member. Binoche is her always fantastic self and she imbues Eugénie with a gravitas in the kitchen where whatever she is doing seems like the gospel of French cuisine. In all of it’s Hollandaise-covered glory. Magimel has a certain quelque chose about him. One that can handle the responsibilities this script entails. Speaking of the script Tran adapts Swiss author Marcel Rouff’s The Passionate Epicure: La Vie et la Passion de Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet. He doesn’t skimp on the dialogue despite the first 30 or so minutes being all cooking. It’s a snappy script. Light when it needs to be and substantial at the perfect moments.

Our Grade: A+, Gorgeous, flowing and emotional this is one of 2024’s early favorites for my favorite film of the year. Phenomenal performances are strengthened with excellent dialogue and a director with a chef’s eye for details. If he were a kitchen man he’d get the Michelin star indeed. His plating (read camera work) is top notch and the meal itself is a rich cacophony of everything we look to the movies for. One almost as rich as the five mother sauces themselves.

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