Ah, l’amour. That crazy little thing called love.
It’s what makes the world go ‘round, you know. It’s also what makes a lot of movies
successful. We love movies about love. We love to watch the people on the screen search
for love, fail miserably at it, and then, in the end, find that perfect
Take Le Goût des Autres (or, if you don’t understand
French, The Taste of Others), for example. The entire movie is about the quest
for that one perfect match. It’s about misjudging people and finding perfection where
you least expect it.
The Taste of Others is a lot like Four
Weddings and a Funeral, actually—but without all the weddings (or the funeral) and
with a lot more French people. In Four Weddings and a Funeral, six friends
stumble through life (and through an endless string of the weddings of other people),
trying to figure out if true love—The One—really exists.
In The Taste
of Others, forty-something French men and women with different lifestyles, different
tastes, and different ideas about love and sex try to answer the same question.
Jean-Jacques Castella is a wealthy businessman who’s lacking in class and
political-correctness—not to mention excitement. Castella’s wife, Angelique is a
nagging, controlling interior decorator, whose lack of decorating jobs could have
something to do with the fact that she decorates in nothing but dusty pink floral
patterns. Clara is an aging actress who’s hired to teach Castella English—and with whom
he becomes obsessed after he sees one of her performances. Clara’s friend, Manie, is a
beautiful hash-dealing bartender who has a meaningless fling with Bruno, Castella’s
naïve, trusting driver, whose fiancée openly admits (in a letter) to cheating on him
while on her internship in the U.S. And sparks fly when Bruno introduces Manie to Frank,
the cool ex-cop who’s been hired as Castella’s bodyguard until his company signs a major
deal with an Iranian company.
Like Four Weddings, Taste
introduces the viewer to a long list of characters—all of whom fit into a complicated web
of relationships. In the end, some of them find the love they’re looking for and others
are left to continue the search. Unfortunately, however, Taste doesn’t have the
same cast of bright, lovable characters—or the same sense of humor—as Four
Weddings does. Sure, there’s some light humor, and the characters are unique—but
none are especially memorable. Instead, there’s a lot of talk and not much action. And
when you consider that the dialogue is all in French, so you’ll most likely have to read
everything as it zips across the bottom of the screen, it makes it more difficult to take
everything in—or to figure out who’s sleeping with whom.
If you’re a
foreign film novice, I advise you to choose something that’s a bit more…English than
The Taste of Others—unless, of course, you’re a speed-reader. Those of you who
can handle the speeding subtitles will be able to keep up with the dialogue, but you may
find the movie to be a bit slow. Overall, if you’re looking for a movie that delves into
the lives of people in search The One, I’d have to say that Four Weddings and a
Funeral is still The One to watch.