Thursday, January 02, 2014

Tonight's Movie: Haute Cuisine (2012)

My daughter came across HAUTE CUISINE, known in France as LES SAVEURS DU PALAIS, in her Netflix recommendations. After checking out the trailer she said we had to try it, it looked like a great "foodie" film, and indeed it was. This was a thoroughly entertaining movie which should be very much enjoyed by fans of films such as NO RESERVATIONS (2007), JULIE AND JULIA (2009), or BIG NIGHT (1996).

The film is a fictionalized version of the story of Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch (author of CARNETS DE CUISINE), the personal chef of former President Mitterand of France.

The movie opens at an Antarctic science station, where Chef Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot) is preparing to leave after a year's service. Documentary filmmakers visiting the station want to know more about her and learn that she was previously the personal chef for the President of France (Jean d'Ormesson), an experience depicted in lengthy flashbacks.

One might not expect that high drama could be created out of the preparation of meals, but this film is absolutely fascinating, particularly in its depiction of the efforts that go into a special annual meal for the President's extended family.

The film only hints at Laborie's life outside the kitchen, but what's presented in this 95-minute film is more than enough to satisfy, a film which is equal parts drama, comedy, and "office" soap opera, as the sexist men in the main kitchen resent Laborie and make her life as difficult as possible.

The movie was directed by Christian Vincent. The supporting cast includes Arthur Dupont as Nicolas, the enthusiastic pastry chef who also serves as Laborie's sous chef.

Parental advisory: This film is rated PG-13 for strong language. Since it's in French -- though subtitled -- the effect is somewhat muted, and there's not a lot of it. This is a relatively family-friendly PG-13.

The trailer is available at IMDb.

For more on this film, please visit a very accurate review by Hank Sartin at Roger

Hopefully this film will become available on DVD in the U.S. at some point, but in the meantime I very much recommend checking out this most enjoyable movie via Netflix streaming.


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