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Foodie film “The Taste of Things” will make you want to lick the screen

The Taste of Things

Starring Juliette Binoche, Benoît Magimel, Emmanuel Salinger, Patrick D’Assumçao, Galatéa Bellugi, Jan Hammenecker, Frédéric Fisbach, Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire, Jean-Marc Roulot, Yannik Landrein and Sarah Adler. Written and directed by Tran Anh Hùng. Opens Friday at Varsity Cinemas. 134 minutes. STC

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of 4)

Peter Howell

Movie Critic

The year is 1885, the location a manor in the French countryside. A wide-eyed young kitchen apprentice named Pauline is about to savour her first taste of a new dessert called Baked Alaska. As the elegant ice cream, meringue and cake concoction crosses her lips, it’s as if her heart — or maybe time itself — has stopped.

“I almost cried!” she confesses to the cook, Eugénie (Juliette Binoche, never better), who smiles as she recognizes herself in the girl.

The scene is from “The Taste of Things,” a film about food and love and the obsessive passions both evoke. If Pauline’s ecstatic nibble doesn’t make you want to rush out to the theatre’s concession stand to see if Baked Alaska is on offer, you’re made of sterner stuff than me.

It will be hard to top as the most palpably seductive cinema moment of 2024, but there are challengers even within this sumptuous film by Tran Anh Hùng (“The Scent of Green Papaya”), who won the director’s prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. (The movie was also shortlisted for best international feature at the upcoming Oscars, but didn’t make the final five nominees.)

French-Vietnamese filmmaker Hùng, a lover of detail, spends the first 30 minutes of “Taste” immersing us in a fabulous meal being made by Eugénie, housekeeper Violette (Galatéa Bellugi) and Violette’s visiting preteen niece Pauline (Bonnie Chagneau-Ravoire, in her first screen role).

“Made” seems too modest a word for the craftsmanship on display.



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