Sometimes movies are tantalizing, exceptional works of art. This is especially so when it comes to food. Today, we’re going to look at 7 movies about restaurants.
These works of art capture our senses with the sights and sounds of food. All seven of these movies do such a remarkable job of setting the stage with their portrayals of food, that oftentimes we feel like we can taste the pasta, enjoy the long sip of wine and relish in the cheesecake.
Food is a common experience that brings people and cultures together. (tweet this)
We’ve seen some movies that delight in their portrayal of food in unimaginable ways. Today, we picked our favorite seven to share with you.
1. Eat, Pray, Love
One can’t think of food movies without mentioning this Julia Roberts flick.
When the main character, Elizabeth Gilbert, steps out of her modern day life – one that is filled with everything modern women are supposed to want – a husband, house and successful career, she finds herself lost and confused.
Newly divorced and at a tough juncture in her life, she steps out of her comfort zone into the most powerful food nation in the world. She discovers the true, divine nature of eating and eating well in this moving story of self-discovery and love.
Eat, Pray, Love is a culinary tour through Italy. At one point, Roberts’ character says, “I’m having a relationship with my pizza.”
In this moment, the audience too feels the importance of the relationship between food and happiness. They experience the true delight that comes with eating something so delightful as to be appreciated whole-heartedly.
In another scene, Roberts’ character stays home to do nothing but eat. Contrary to what some might expect, her choices include olive oil drizzled carefully over asparagus, hard-boiled eggs, prosciutto and a glass of Italian red wine. With her choices veering in the opposite direction of chips and salsa, the audience can again appreciate her relationship with food.
2. Big Night
A genuine movie that portrays the warm-fuzzies involved with food and family, this movie starring Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub and Isabella Rosselini follows the story of first-generation immigrants. Two brothers – one the stereotypical temperamental chef, the other, a philandering maître d’ – try to revive their family’s failing 1950s Jersey Shore restaurant.
Their problems are part family, part cultural and a bit misunderstanding. They are embroiled in a rivalry with another restaurateur whose wife Tucci’s character is having an affair. They also are battling their community, who as a whole, doesn’t understand authentic Italian food.
How do they solve their problems? With the “Big Night.” It’s their only chance to save their restaurant. The food nearly jumps off the screen as audience members can almost smell the rich, Italian fare.
In the end, the two brothers make up over an omelet. Without talking to one another, they make peace with food as their olive-branch.
3. Julie and Julia
Meryl Streep, starring as Julia Child, and Amy Adams as the food writer walk through the food maven’s life.
This film is a simple portrayal of the joys of cooking and eating and how they extend into our broader way of living.
In most movies about food and restaurants, staff works behind the scenes to make the food look as perfect and appealing as possible, even resorting to using unconventional items instead of the actual food.
Not so in this movie. They weren’t trying to make the food look perfect in this movie. They just wanted it to look good enough that you want to “stuff” it in your mouth.
At one point Adams’ character and her husband were devouring bruschetta. The tomatoes were bright red, the bread rustic and oh so crunchy, and the olives rained juices all over the table. This left audience members craving some of their own.
We have to throw in Pixar’s animated hit. It might seem odd that we put a movie about rats on a list of movies about restaurants, but this one even has food in its title.
Remy is an ambitious young rat with an incredible and highly-developed sense of smell and taste. He dreams of being a cook himself. When separated from his home, he finds himself looking in the window of his idol, a famous chef’s restaurant.
As he watches through the window, he sees a kitchen mishap – the garbage boy spills the soup and tries to recreate it – and ends up in the kitchen on the sly. He recreates the soup, even better than before, and so the story begins.
The heart-warming final scene with Remy (the main rat) making his famous French dish, ratatouille, sticks with the people who watch it.
Filmmakers met the challenge of creating computer-generated food animations that were delectably delicious by employing the help of US and French chefs. We agree their results were terrific.
5. The Hundred-Foot Journey
Based on a best-selling novel, this beautiful film portrays an Indian family who opens an Indian restaurant in a rural French village. They are met with competition because their restaurant is across from a five-star restaurant.
Not only is the film about friendship and love, but it gives great insight into cooking and how it can improve lives. It touches on multiculturalism and the culinary benefits of it.
Interestingly, the movie casts French cuisine as the villain and Indian food as a hero.
Unique to this movie was the lack of food stylists. This meant everything you saw was actually edible. There were no food stand-ins in this movie.
In addition, they had two Indian chefs and one classical French chef on staff. They delighted the crew with stories on how to cook and even showed them how the two cultures chop food differently.
Step back a few years for this Keri Russell classic. In this film, Russell plays the part of a melancholy, pregnant waitress trapped in a bad marriage and small town.
She is, as the title declares, a waitress. She practices the art of pie-making in hopes that she’ll win the local bake-off and be able to leave her derelict husband.
She is side-tracked by her handsome doctor, and her pies take on their own character in this movie as they move from being a job and a means to an end to a form of therapy.
In the end, one of her customers leaves her a small fortune, she gives birth to a daughter, Lulu, she wins the contest, ditches the husband and the doctor (who she hands a Moon Pie at their break-up) and buys the diner where she works and calls it Lulu’s Pies.
In this movie about restaurants, the cast creates a great visual by using pie as another character in the movie.
7. The Trip
This movie follows Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing themselves, as they troop through England and Italy for a restaurant tour for a newspaper.
A comedy, these two pillage kitchens and enjoy exotic dishes featuring scallops, black pudding, kumquats and more. Moving into Italy, they discover the virtue of pasta and the rich food culture found in Italian restaurants.
Coogan and Brydon aren’t culinary experts, but the movie derives its balance from their forays into some of England and Italy’s brightest restaurants.