Fun, sexy, and richly rewarding, THE TASTE OF OTHERS earned an Academy Award(R) nomination as Best Foreign Language Film (2000). The lives and loves of several completely opposite men and women artfully intersect in what b... more »ecomes a delightfully funny web of romantic entanglements! While negotiating differences in wealth and status, style and taste, this vivid collection of characters mix and match in outrageously volatile combinations! Internationally acclaimed for its sexy comic sophistication -- expect the unexpected from this uncommonly entertaining motion picture!« less
"No, this film isn't remotely pornographic, not even a single delectable bare breast the whole two hours...can you believe that it's really a FRENCH relationship drama???
Well, aside from the lack of pleasantly gratuitous nudity that normally adorns most French films...YES. Here's why:
1. It's about 90% character-driven. There is something of a plot, but it exists mainly to give the characters something to do while unfolding to us who they really are...and refreshingly, there is zero judgement on the part of the film of any of the main characters. They simply are what they are.
2. There are no simplistic "good" vs. "bad" guys. Instead this film is populated with (gasp!) very believable and human characters who are just familiar enough to elicit the smiling "aha, they remind me of so-and-so!" mental balloon from the viewer, yet free of glib stereotyping so as not to bore us or insult our intelligence. (Read: the French film industry doesn't rely on focus groups to dumb down its movies for the lowest common denominator like Hollywood does.)
3. Sex is treated just as...well, sex. No stupid puritannical or moralistic hangups, no hypocritical voyeurism, no infantile romantic fairy tales. It's just something men and women do, whether for love or simple random pleasure, and whether it's two men or a men and a woman is completely irrelevant. OH MY GOD...this film is just sooooooooooo RADICAL!!!
Aside from those three simply earth-shakingly audacious qualities, this film just has a wonderfully mature, elegantly restrained manner which is almost unheard of these days. Yes the pacing is leisurely (like most French movies) are but never drags (unlike many), because the characters prove to be so deeply human and real not formulaic, so we can't help caring about what happens to them next.
I was especially stunned to find out that the actress who plays Manie, a sexy but subtlely (and irresistibly) spunky, solidly independent young woman who tends bar and deals hashish, is also the film's (first-time) DIRECTOR. Holy Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and Elvis, I wanna move to Paris!"
James Dill | 05/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the Taste of Others in the theater and it was simply exquisite. I haven't enjoyed a film as much as this one in years. All of the acting is very strong, the character development is subtle and intelligent, and throughout the film good taste reigns, without any of the banal excesses that film-makers so often resort to. I can hardly wait until it comes out on DVD so I can watch again!"
Life Imitates Art Imitates Life
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THE TASTE OF OTHERS may not be for the taste of everyone, but for those who delight in the oh-so-French form of character examination, then this is a film for you. From the very beginning of the movie we feel as if we just dropped in on some French people who are having varying discussions that seem extemporaneous, loose and unrelated: nouveau riche businessman Castella (Jean-Pierre Bacri) discusses mundane notions with his clueless 'decorator' wife Beatrice (Brigitte Catillon); Castella's worldly bodyguard Bruno (Alain Chabat) passes the time with his rather boring buddy Franck (Gerard Lanvin); middle aged actress and English teacher Clara (Anne Alvaro) pines away at how her life in the arts is aimless; bartender Manie (director Agnes Jaoui) ponders why men are so fickle as lovers...you get the picture. But the beauty of this film is how the story interweaves these various isolated 21st Century people's lives and in doing so makes many valid comments on the importance of the arts in our lives, the power of 'opposites attract', the need for meaningful relationships to keep us on course, and the varied ways we all view our surroundings, our lives, depending on our individual vantages. Here is a film with wonderful acting, smart ideas well played out, and a musical score that is so varied and good that it is well worth a CD! But again, The Taste of Others will find its own audience depending on others tastes. In French with English subtitles."
James Dill | Lansing, NY USA | 04/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my favorite 2002 movies (that's when it arrived in my town). Here is a movie that will surprise you, slowly subvert your expectations and (is it possible?) make you feel good. Ostensibly a movie about relationships, billed as a romantic comedy, it's really a meditation on a collision between the world of art and the world of the bourgeois. Can a businessman be moved to his soul by a moment of art? Can an artist who is sensitive and open to the world also be blind? Lot's of good acting, interesting characters, and a nice slice of contemporary French life. In French with subtitles but the DVD would have an English track."
M. Castella: One Day Love Changes His Life Forever
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 03/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The film is slow-moving; the film is talky, and it's French! And the guy's name is M. Castella.... Well, the whole premise may look unpromising enough to chase away some of the potential audeince from theaters. No, wait, the film is good. Really."The Taste of Others" follows M. Castella, president of small factory, who is not so happy, surrounded by bodyguards and very nervous, always bickering wife. One day, a middle-aged woman Clara, his business consaltant hired to give M. Castella English lesson, comes to his office, but Castella, reluctant to learn, turns her away. What a fool, later he realizes, when he accidentally meets Clara on stage of a play he went to see -- she is so beautiful!!! Now he decides to take lessons, and even writes a poem (of love, of course). Clara at first is annoyed, courted by uncooth M. Castella, who seems living in a very different world than hers, but the day will come when she realises that she was mistaken, doing great injustice to him.Meanwhile, many other characters are living their life, and the film also depicts their stories as well. One of them is about the complicated relations between bodyguards and waitress Manie (director Agnes Jaoui herself) working at a bar, but the most impressive is the story of Jean-Pierre Bacri's M. Castella, whose unexpected love to Clara gradually changes himself and other people's life too. Acting is all superb, and the insightful script (written by Jaoui & Bacri) cleverly make a good satire out of our lamentable tendency of misunderstanding others by looking at his/her outward things alone. It is not a laugh-out-loud comedy; it's rather a well-crafted romance that sometimes makes you smile and think. As the film title says, it's not easy to really know "The Taste of Others."It is true that "The Taste of Others" takes time to introduce the basic relations between the characters, and its too talky nature (especially of the first half of the film) cannot be denied. But wait. The film gets better and better as it unfolds M. Castella's love-story. Deservedly nominated in eight categories for Cesar Award in France, and winning four of them, "The Taste of Others" will give you a French cinema at its best. You got witty development of a skillfully-handled story based on capable ensemble cast, and very clever (but not too clever) insight into ordinary people's life."