5 Movies That Will Make You Hungry
Food culture has exploded and as a result food as entertainment is now a big business. As someone who regularly spends an embarrassing amount of hours watching Food Network and the Cooking Channel, I’m glad we’re all so into to talking about our food now. Despite being everyday facts of life, food and cooking can be surprisingly dramatic activities. Chefs are often a passionate, volatile bunch, and even for non-chefs the foods we eat are steeped in culture, often speaking to our own personal heritages. And on a shallow note, food is aesthetically pleasing. It turns out we really do eat with our eyes first.
It’s no wonder then that food movies have done so well in recent years. As we gradually make the move toward making active food choices, more and more people are beginning to embrace the culture surrounding food, making this the perfect time for Hollywood to tell stories about chefs, the joy of eating and the intrinsic beauty of artfully filmed pies.
Juliette Binoche plays a roaming chocolatier who sets up shop in a repressed French village to sell her chocolates just in time for Lent in 2000’s Chocolat. The film’s central message is a little indulgence is good for the soul as Binoche’s character changes the lives of the villagers through the power of chocolate and her irrepressible free spirit. For foodies, Chocolat is a chocolate utopia. The shop at the center of the film is the visual equivalent of a fairy tale. It is charming and quaint, always overflowing with chocolaty goodness.
In addition to all of the sugary candy, the film also features Johnny Depp as a gypsy, making it a contender for the title of movie with the most deliciously decadent eye candy ever. You’ll come for Depp and the chocolate, and end up staying for the sweet parable about how life is rarely ever better off lived in a state of complete self denial.
Based on Julie Powell’s popular blog that documented her quest to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julie & Julia is a charming film about the joy of learning how to cook. Much as I love Amy Adams, the real star of the movie is indisputably Meryl Streep as Julia Child. She nails Child’s booming voice and unstoppable enthusiasm for life. The film follows Child’s journey from her early days in Paris as she was just beginning her adventures in food up until she ultimately published her famous French cooking tome. Her story runs parallel to Powell’s as she too starts in a place of boredom and goes on to discover a love of cooking thanks to Child’s seminal work.
Julie & Julia is packed with gorgeous food visuals thanks to Nora Ephron’s keen directorial eye, but it’s the central story of how cooking changed these two women’s lives for the better that makes the film such a pleasure to watch.
Leave it to Pixar to make a film about an ambitious rat chef that leaves you feeling warm and hungry rather than itching to call a health inspector after the credits roll. The story of Remy’s chef ambitions is moving, but the most striking thing about the film is how beautiful Paris is and how lovingly the food on each and every plate that appears in the film is rendered. There is as much passion poured into every frame as there is into Remy’s impassioned speeches about the artistry of flavor combinations.
Waitress, written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, is an ode to southern diners, the women who work in them and the artistry of pie. Keri Russell plays Jenna, a woman who is stuck in an abusive marriage when she discovers she is pregnant. Baking is her only real outlet for self-expression, so she pours all of her emotions–anger, resentment, happiness–into the pies she bakes. Then she gives them names like “I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong And Earl Will Kill Me.”
The pies themselves are all droolworthy, so much so that a quick internet search will turn up the recipes for most of them because they looked so tempting the film’s fans had to try them for themselves. Thanks to the pies, Russell’s lovely performance, the film’s whimsical spirit and the presence of Nathan Fillion, Waitress is the perfect food movie.
It’s Complicated is not technically about food and I can see how you might dubious about how a film that includes so much Alec Baldwin nudity could make you hungry, but it can and it will. Food may not be the point of It’s Complicated, but it’s at the heart of the story. Meryl Streep isn’t playing an iconic cook this time around, but her character is a baker who spends the majority of the movie preparing meals for Baldwin, her family and Steve Martin in a kitchen that would make even a casual food lover drool.
The best scene involves Streep and Martin preparing chocolate scones in her bakery after hours. It’s a romantic, flour-drenched scene that I promise will leave you with a hankering for pastries.
Which food movie is your favorite? Are there any scenes in non-food movies that always leave you fighting the urge to raid your fridge? Tell me all about them in the comments below!
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