The Taste of Things Movie Review

The Taste of Things movie poster

In The Taste of Things (La passion de Dodin Bouffant), the pleasantly beautiful drama starring Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel, two sort of boring people cook wonderful food and talk about wonderful food… and that’s about it.

Neither Eugénie nor her husband Dodin are actually boring, but Dodin especially is the guy who’d host the dinner party where you’d want to show up late to eat the leftovers but not suffer through hours of him talking about food and only about food.

While The Taste of Things, directed by Anh Hung Tran, evokes no sense of suffering, the pure joy and celebration of food and chemistry never really extends beyond the screen. It’s a nice little movie, perfectly concocted to serve up a nice little story, but it never amounts to anything more than that.

Binoche is wonderful as always, though the role of Eugénie isn’t particularly compelling nor challenging. Magimel has a more complex role, but The Taste of Things is largely uninterested in dissecting his character to any significant degree. What elevates the material is not their characters nor performances as much as their indelible chemistry, which injects an extra dose of flavor into every scene in which they are together.

The shame of it all is that The Taste of Things doesn’t spend enough time with the two of them together, alone. It’s in these quiet moments, such as when Dodin sits down to observe Eugénie bathe herself–not so much in a sexual way but driven by pure fascination with her beauty–that the movie thrives.

These moments simply don’t come often enough.

The Taste of Things is a well-made, well-acted drama, but it’s a wistful appetizer more than a savory full course.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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