Top 10 Food Films Of All Times
Who says movies are fiction? Movies are a reflection of life – real-life emotions, real-life sentiments, real-life situations, needs and desires. Whatsoever is close to our hearts in practicality gets a mention in movies – food being one of the greatest examples. So, let’s take a look at the top 10 food films of all times.
1. Ratatouille: Ratatouille, the Oscar winner for the best animated film, is one of the most popular food-based films. The plot is very simple – how an aspiring cook achieves his dream with the help of the gastronomic genius rat, who helps him cook unique dishes. Numerous food principles are on display in this movie, but there are two most important take-away messages that leave a mark on your mind as you finish watching the movie – firstly, anyone can cook and secondly, use your instinct to cook the right food. The recipe books are just guides; it is an individual touch and an individual twist that makes your recipe really unique.
2. Mostly Martha: Food plays the central role in this German romantic comedy. The female protagonist, Martha is a super-skilled, but headstrong chef, whose life is confined within the four walls of the kitchen. But, her life changes when an unexpected stir of events compels her to take charge of her equally stubborn 8-year old niece. Her temporary break from work marks the entry of the Italian sous-chef – a person with skill, warmth, humor and romance. Food plays an important part in the movie – it defines the characters, develops the plot, sets the mood and also unites the two protagonists having completely opposite characters in an eternal bond of love.
3. Annie Hall: This is a quintessential masterpiece of priceless, witty and quotable one-liners within a matured, focused and thoughtful film, weaved throughout with the presence of food. Classic scenes, like the lobster scene with Diane Keaton (Annie) and Woody Allen (Alvy) in Annie Hall captures the most hilarious momentary chaos of cooking live lobster for the first time. It is a bittersweet romantic comedy of urban relationships and modern contemporary love, developed and depicted through the cooking scenes, where the couple shared their memories and happy times.
4. Big Night: The movie captures the painstaking detail of creating a special feast marvelously. Two bickering brothers, who own a floundering Italian restaurant, are intrigued by the tremendous popularity that the “rather pedestrian restaurant” across the street has. Desperate, they plan to lure a celebrity to their restaurant and serve a sumptuous meal to her. The movie depicts the conundrum faced by restaurateurs across the globe. The ensuing planning and cooking scenes leave a mark on your minds for long.
5. Chocolat: A fun, sexy and entertaining film, this movie is a must watch if you are a food lover. The story revolves around a drifter (Vianne) who along with her young daughter opens a chocolate shop in a conservative 1960 French town. The store opens during the forty days of Lent and as such, imbues both wonder and angst within the conventional villagers. But, her exquisite confections soon enliven a married couple's sex life, encourage an elderly man's secret love, build rapport with a willful diabetic and comfort an awkward woman who longs to leave her drunk and abusive husband – in one word, wins everyone’s hearts in the town, except the evil town mayor who organizes a boycott of her decadent immoral treats. The movie excels in scenes that drizzle, ooze and melt with chocolate on cakes, cookies and pastries. The delight of this story is not so much about making food, but in watching how it affects people.
6. Defending Your Life: This is another popular food-based film, where the story is based in afterlife. The main characters enjoy the greatest perk of the afterlife – where, all food is free, ‘sensational’ and you can eat as much as you want without gaining weight. The ‘food scenes’, though not long or detailed, set the right mood and premise and evoke an immense joy that stays with you.
7. Soul Food: This popular food-based film is heavily based on the acclaimed Chinese film “Eat Drink Man Woman”. The movie depicts the life of a Chicago family who stays united because of their weekly Sunday dinners. Food, in this movie is depicted as the medium that holds people together, give them their identity and reminds them of their roots. In the crisis situation, when Mama Joe, the matriarch and family chef is hospitalized, we see some unraveling of relationships that lead the plot to its climax. And then, it is food again that reunites them forever.
8. Fried Green Tomatoes: This movie is an ensemble of four talented women who experience extreme moments of violence, passivity and courage. The good food-fight and disturbing barbeques scenes add life and humor to the whole movie.
9. Tampopo: This funny and poignant Japanese story interweaves several stories - all based around food. The central storyline of this popular food-based film revolves around a Japanese chef who wants to learn how to make the best noodles in the land. The movie indeed shows a true love of food and the people who make or enjoy it.
10. Like Water for Chocolat: The movie uses food to tell the story of a woman, Tita who was born on a kitchen table. Her cooking shares the sorrow of her life in a magical scene when her tears fall into a wedding cake and the guests become inexplicably filled with sorrow.
Thus, food being one of the central themes of life makes a good theme for the cinema as well. No wonder, there had been so many great movies based on life’s gastronomic pleasures.