Top 6 Foodie Films
Jon Favreau takes a break from directing major blockbusters with his new film, Chef, out in UK cinemas on 25 June. The film, which Favreau stars in and also wrote, tells the story of Carl Casper, a seemingly has-it-all chef who loses everything and has to find his way back. It’s also a road movie, a father-son drama and hugely entertaining. Favreau’s assembled a fantastic cast who don’t let him down but most of all the film features some amazing looking food. Whatever you do, do NOT go into this film hungry because even with a full stomach, you’ll be craving Cubano sandwiches afterwards.
After watching the film I started thinking about the best foodie films, so here’s a rundown of my favourites in no particular order:
Eat Drink Man Woman
Before Hollywood got its hands on him, Ang Lee directed this family drama about a father attempting to deal with his three grown daughters. Each week Mr Chu, a former chef, makes a huge Sunday banquet which all three daughters are expected to attend, thus giving Lee the chance to shoot some glorious-looking food. The film’s opening sequence, when we see Mr Chu prepare the Sunday lunch for the first time, took over a week to shoot. It’s a hugely enjoyable drama with some amazing looking food thrown in.
Julie and Julia
Meryl Streep garnered yet another Oscar nomination for her role as US cook Julia Child in this engaging drama directed by Nora Ephron. The double strand story follows food blogger Julie Powell as she tackles all the recipes in Child’s first book intertwined with how the icon of TV cooking got started in the first place. Once you get over Streep’s voice (which is actually how Child sounded) it’s an enjoyable enough drama. What it does do is feature some mouthwatering recipes created at a time when it was still ok to have as much butter in your food as you liked!
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
First up, this is always the version to watch despite the name change. Stay as far away from Johnny Depp’s attempt to do Willy Wonka as Michael Jackson as you can. Anyway, for any lover of all things sweet this is the ultimate fairy tale. Mel Stuart’s vision of Roald Dahl’s classic story is a joy to behold and I think it’s Gene Wilder’s best (if slightly creepy) performance. What I love about the film is the sheer scale of Willy’s factory and the fact the production team used real chocolate, even if it did smell! I also like to think every child’s reaction to seeing some of the sets are the same as we see on screen – in fact the actors were often seeing the sets for the first time in the film. And there’s no way you’re not humming The Candy Man as you read this!
‘Hey I have an idea, let’s make a film about a rat who cooks!’ ‘Er, ok……’. You can just imagine the pitch meeting for Pixar’s 2007 Oscar-winner about Remy the rat who had a passion for the finest French cuisine. But the film worked out really well thanks to director Brad Bird who took over the project when Pixar bosses decided to drop Jan Pinkava from the project. The film’s full of delicious-looking food, even if it is animated, as well as a mouthwatering cast including Patton Oswalt, Ian Holm and Peter O’Toole. Unfortunately Pixar failed to win any food company marketing tie-ins when promoting the film as no food company was willing to work with a film about a rat. Fools!
Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench lead the cast of Lasse Hallstrom’s adaptation of Joanne Harris’s best seller. The plot follows a woman and her young daughter who shake up the community of a small French town when they open a chocolate shop. It’s a heartwarming tale of the town’s reawakening and a woman’s journey to make peace with herself. And it features a serious amount of chocolate.
Probably the least well-known of my choices but if you’ve missed Adrienne Shelly’s tale of a pie-making waitress then go and watch it now (or rather, after you’ve finished reading this). Keri Russell stars as the waitress of the title, Jenna, whose life is changed by the arrival of new local doctor Jim (Nathan Fillion). It’s funny and touching and it makes you want to eat pie. A lot of pie!
After writing this I now want to rewatch all the films and I am seriously hungry! Go and see Chef because it’s hugely enjoyable and let me know your favourite foodie films in the comments section below.
Chef is in UK cinemas from 25 June 2014.