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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Taste of Things

Don't watch this on an empty stomach

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 3, 2024 – Most of this movie is about food, people fixing meals eating food and drinking wine. I got hungry watching this, but there is enough about people and their relationships with each other to make this a top movie of 2023. It is French, of course, with English subtitles.

This movie is about loving relationship between two gourmet cooks, Eugénie (Juliet Binoche of “Clouds of Sils Maria”) and Dodin Bouffant (played by Benoît Magimel of “The Piano Teacher”). Dodin's character is based on of the same name created by Swiss author Marcel Rouff in his novel “The Passionate Epicure.”

Set in 1885, this movie starts out with Eugénie and Dodin gathering food and cooking, together with a maid, Violette (Galatéa Bellugi of “The Apparition”). The food preparation and cooking is done like an elaborate dance, with everyone in perfect harmony, arriving with ingredients, utensils and moving pots and pans at just the right time.

An enormous amount of food is cooked and eaten during the course of this movie. One of the funniest scenes in the movie is the reading of the course menu for an epic dinner, cooked by the personal chef of visiting royal. The resulting meal ends up lasting eight hours. If that wasn't enough, Dodin didn't like the taste of it, so he ate more food before going to bed, just to get that substandard taste out of his mouth.

Eugénie and Dodin have been cooking together for 20 years, and they may have been in love that long, too. Though they both live in Dodin's huge house, they are not married, though Dodin has proposed to her many times. In one scene, Dodin hides an engagement ring inside an elaborate dish he makes for her.

Dodin and Eugénie have a close circle of epicurean friends who they cook elaborate meals for. At one point, they go to the kitchen and complain that Eugénie never eats with them. She replies that her priority is cooking the food, and that is how she communicates with them and is with them. It is also the way that Dodin and Eugénie show their love for each other.

A relative of Violette, young Pauline (Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire) visits the kitchen one day and Dodin and Eugénie discover that she has the delicate palate of a chef. Eugénie wants to teacher her how to cook. Eugénie visits Pauline's parents and gets permission to be Pauline's instructor.

Through the art of gourmet food, Dodin and Eugénie express their love for each other, a love that is both timeless, and transitory, like a meal, persisting only in memory. This movie is also about the importance of expressing love in other ways, and the tragedy of procrastinating when it comes to love. This is both a hunger-inducing film and a fine, superbly acted love story. It rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2024 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]