R5 Bedford Resident and Film Critic John Farr, Shares His Five Favorite Thanksgiving-Themed Movies



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Some of the finest films about feasting take place where they don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving, but the essential spirit of our own holiday still comes through.





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1) First stop: Denmark, and a quiet, lustrous gem called Babette’s Feast (1987). This sublime fable concerns two aging sisters and a French woman named Babette who arrives in their midst. To celebrate the birthday of the sisters’ beloved, late pastor, Babette invites them and a few other locals to share in a magnificent meal, the significance of which soon becomes clear. This is one “Feast” you don’t want to miss.

2) For Mostly Martha (2001), we hop over to Germany, and meet the title character, an exacting young chef whose impressive culinary skills overcompensate for an inability to thrive outside a kitchen. Both authentic and would-be gourmets will delight in the heartwarming romance as well as the loving preparation of fabulous food. An aromatic delight.

3) Now for a warmer climate: Mexico. The sumptuously filmed Like Water For Chocolate (1992) tells the tale of Tita, the youngest of three daughters, who, by family tradition, is forbidden from marrying until her evil mother dies. The kitchen, which could be her prison, instead becomes her refuge and solace.

4) Next, we take the long voyage to Taipei, where director Ang Lee sets Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), about a tradition-bound master chef and his three very different daughters. The chasm in generational attitudes is made painfully evident at the father’s sumptuous weekly dinner, which the whole family must attend.
5) At last, we return to the States and the irresistible Big Night (1996), about two Italian immigrant brothers (Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci) in 1950s New Jersey, struggling to launch a restaurant with authentic Italian cooking, not the spaghetti and meatballs served by successful competitor Pascal (a superb Ian Holm) just up the street.


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