Tantalizing Cuisine and Family Drama in Taiwan
Sunday dinner at master chef Chu’s home resembles a
spectacular banquet you would only expect at a gourmet
restaurant. He works tirelessly to prepare a feast for his
daughters who hardly seem to appreciate his culinary skills.
Jia-Jen (Kuei-Mei-Yang) is a chemistry teacher who has
discovered Christianity, Jia-Chen (Chien-Lien Wu), is an airline
executive who is in love with a man who will never marry her and
Jia-Ning (Yu-Wen Wang) has her eye on a friend’s boyfriend.
The basic plot centers around a father who is not only trying
to find a new life but is watching all his daughters leave and
start their own lives.
Indirectly we also learn a great deal about men through the
relationships the daughters pursue. We have a man who is living
the bachelor lifestyle, a naive lover who is just learning about
the games women play and a man who is willing to change
religions to get the girl of his dreams.
This movie is deliciously dramatic with some deeply religious
themes. I was pleasantly surprised with the light humor which
was not at all offensive. You also see three lifestyles
presented by the daughters showing how they each deal with their
libidinous whims. The most unexpected twists and turns appear,
making the plot entirely entertaining.
While chef Chu finds ways to show his love to his daughters,
he is especially estranged from one of his daughters who only
communicates with him through criticism of his food. There is a
scene later in the movie which shows the father using this same
tactic to communicate his love to his daughter.
Some of the comedy is all in the facial expressions. I
especially loved the part where chef Chu is trying to eat the
inedible lunch and where the children in his adopted
granddaughter’s classroom are all placing orders for lunch. As
a woman, I could not help laughing when he pulls out the nylons
and bras all tied up together in the washer.
I’m always complaining about the lack of “chef” themes
in movies. If you are hungry for movies with cooking themes, add
this movie to your “must-see” menu. You almost have to watch
this movie twice. Once with the subtitles and the second time
just to view all the tantalizing dishes master chef Chu (Sihung
This movie reminded me of “The Scent of Green Papaya”
(1994). However, “Eat Drink Man Woman” excels in the
presentation of the cuisine, while “The Scent of Green
Papaya” was more poetic in its presentation. This movie is a
visual feast. All I want to know now is where is the cookbook so
I can learn how to make that dragon?
Playful romance, creative cuisine, deep rivers of emotional
drama and original comedy are the ingredients that make this
movie a satisfying feast for the heart and soul.
Three words to take Very Seriously “before” watching this
movie: Order Chinese Food!
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. ;)
Also look for: Babette’s Feast, Like Water for Chocolate, Simply
Irresistible and Chocolat.