Eat Drink Man Woman
Director: Ang Lee
Cast: Sihung Lung, Yu-wen Wang, Jacqualine Wu, Winston Chao
This was a very interesting film. Some might call it a "Chick Flick" or a woman's movie. It reminded me a little of the Joy Luck Club, Woody Allen's Hannah and her Sisters or American Beauty. This was a story about a widower taking care of and living with his three grown daughters who were all of marriageable age.
There were some funny parts in the movie, but mostly it was dramatic and had themes that were sad. This film had multi-protagonists. About five story lines were weaved into one larger storiey.
The characters were interesting and quite realistic in their parts. The casting was interesting in that, of the three sisters that were in it, I was halfway through the film before I realized that the middle sister was the oldest sister and that the one I thought was the oldest was the middle sister of the three. The three sisters all looked quite different and had different personalities. All good actresses.
The characters were all very well acted in this film. Some people I thought were miscast. For instance the boss of the middle daughter who was an airline executive. He looked to tough, more like he was in the mafia. The working associate from Amsterdam who came in to work with them for a while played his role too carefree. I can't say too much without giving away the story but I thought he should have been a little more executive-like.
One of the main characters of this film was the food. The father was a Master Chef and throughout the film he was cooking elaborate meals for his daughters. Usually important matters were discussed around the dinner table. I kept wondering how all of the girls stayed so slim with all that food they always had in front of them. I liked the continuing theme throughout the story that always at dinner each family member had a major announcement that would turn there lives upside down.
I am not kidding when I say that the food was a major character. I never saw such beautiful food photography in my life and I was watching it on a video, which usually isn't as brilliant as a movie theatre. I suggest eating a meal before you see this film or order yourself a large Chinese meal while watching it. The movie makes you crave Asian food and chop sticks. Your mouth will water watching this film.
The father was a caring individual, and he was caring about being a chef. It was his way of life. All of the girls are struggling with life issues of marriage, love, leaving home and living on their own. Some parts in the story were coincidental to move the story along. But one or two coincidences in a story could happen and they do in real life too. Relationships between all characters were well established.
I liked the way the women were portrayed as extremely intellectual and all had good jobs. However, the theme that if "you don't get married then you are an old maid" runs rampant through the picture.
Some of the supporting roles were good. The mother of a friend of the family was funny. She came over to the house many times and she added another dimension to the film.
The film had some good scenery and costuming but nothing unusual. In fact some of the interior sets looked somewhat "homegrown". It wasn't an extravagent set but very functional. Some good locations too. There were a lot of gloomy days in the film which may have added to the somber mood.
The film had great twists and turns throughout the story and the ending was quite good. This was a slice of life type of film. Most of the characters experience significant change in the telling of the story.
The subtitles were easy to read. The film comes in DVD and VHS. I liked this film and kept wanting to know what the next development would be and what would happen to all of these characters. It was like a soap opera. Not a lot of specticle, but a lot of story.
Reviewed by: Barbara Friedman