The Taste of Things, food and love, love and food

Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel toast with champagne in The Taste of Things

The Taste of Things (La passion de Dodin Bouffant) is the kind of film that makes a food lover’s mouth water. The food and the preparation of the food is everything in this film by Anh Hung Tran. The cook and the gourmet she works for both express themselves and their passions with food. The camera expresses that love with detailed and beautiful images of the food and its preparation.

In The Taste of Things, Eugénie (Juliette Binoche) has been cooking for Dodin (Benoît Magimel) for 20 years. He asks her to marry him many times and she refuses. However, she does allow him access to her bedroom at night – but only on her terms.

Benoît Magimel and his guests at the table in The Taste of Things

The first scene in the film is over 30 minutes with almost no dialog. We watch Eugénie and her helper Violette (Galatéa Bellugi) prepare course after course of beautiful food for Dodin and some of his friends (all men). They spend hours at the table while the camera dances around the kitchen showing every aspect of the food preparation.

After many hours of eating and conversation, all the men go to the kitchen to compliment Eugénie on the meal. They want her to join them at the table, but she says she expresses everything to them with her food.

On this particular day, Violette brought her young niece Pauline (Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire) to work with her. Pauline is still a child but has an astonishing palete for tastes. Eugénie is impressed with her and wants to ask her parents if she can become at apprentice in her kitchen.

Eugénie is troubled with fainting spells. When Dodin realizes she is ill, he calls in doctors. They can do nothing to help her and don’t understand her problem. It’s 1889 in the film.

Juliette Binoche in The Taste of Things

Dodin makes Eugénie rest and prepares a beautiful meal for her himself. We watch all of that cooking, too. He hides an engagement ring in the desert dish and Eugénie finally agrees to marry him.

Dodin takes over working with young Pauline and training her tastes.

Things don’t work out as expected with the marriage. There’s great love, but also great loss and sorrow.

The film was 2 hours and 15 minutes long. Most of that time was spent looking in pots and ovens as food was prepared. I got a bit bored with it and was ready for it to end well before it was over. However, the foodies of the world will be delighted by the beautifully photographed food. If you equate food with love, this film will warm your heart.

The film is streaming on Acorn TV and AMC+

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