The Taste Of Others

"Good"

The Taste Of Others Review


Romantic frustration is the common thread that ties together a piquant assembly of interconnected but quite divergent lives in "The Taste of Others," a deft, distinctive and personal multi-character dramedy from France.

Nominated for nine César Awards and this year's Best Foreign Film Oscar, this simple yet manifold film was co-written and directed by a César favorite, actress-screenwriter Agnés Jaoui, who also plays a pivotal role in the film as a bartender at the pub where all the film's stories converge.

Although it is a balanced and equally penetrating ensemble piece, if "The Taste of Others" has a primary character, it would be Castella (Jean-Pierre Barci, Jaoui's husband), an irritable middle-aged businessman in the manufacturing trade whose business negotiations with an Iranian company have forced several changes into his static life. His insurance company has insisted he hire a bodyguard and he's reluctantly agreed to take English lessons so he can more effectively communicate with his international partners.

His English tutor, Clara (Anne Alvaro), is a woman he rudely blows off at their first meeting. But that very night he's dragged to the theater by his persnickety wife (Christiane Millet) to see Racine's "Bérénice," and by chance his teacher is playing the lead. Surprisingly overwhelmed by her performance, Castella suddenly sees beauty and passion in this woman he had dismissed as a forgettable spinster and becomes vexatiously obsessed with her.

Clara is, in fact, desperately lonely and frustrated with her stagnant stage career, but she quickly finds Castella to be a pest, with his clumsy, creepy advances and brusque attempts to wiggle his way into her circle of friends, who hang out at Jaoui's pub.

While stuck spending time there, the businessman's unassuming, emotionally heedless chauffeur (Alain Chabat) and his impudent, sullen but otherwise everyday-joe bodyguard (Gerard Lanvin) both take an interest in Manie (Jaoui), the promiscuous, carefree bartender who deals hashish on the side.

The chauffeur sleeps with her while talking sanguinely about how his deeply loyal girlfriend would never cheat on him while in the U.S. for six months. (When he finds out how wrong he is, it turns his world upside down.) The bodyguard, a self-styled Lothario, sleeps with the bartender, too, and finds himself more affected than he intended, becoming jealous and controlling in the process.

Another track follows the businessman's wife as she busies herself -- uninvited -- with redecorating her freshly divorced sister-in-law's new apartment in Technicolor Grecian-meets-Laura Ashley style.

Themes of fidelity, egotism, self-worth, doubt and disillusionment are woven by subtlety terrific performances as these stories intersect not only narratively (like a less ironic Robert Altman or Woody Allen film), but emotionally as well.

Each character is quite extensively developed, so that even though we only see a glimpse of their lives, we know inherently that there's more to Castella than the incredibly uncouth twit he seems to be, more to Clara than her teetering on the brink of despair and more to the others than meets the eye as well.

"The Taste of Others" is an eloquent, unadorned film of bona fide human susceptibility. Its only bothersome element is the fact that these characters are so authentic and empathetic that when they annoy or act foolish, they become less sympathetic. A tangible desire develops to step through the screen and try to talk some sense into them.



The Taste Of Others

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st March 2000

Distributed by: Artistic License Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 57

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jean-Charles Castella, as Bruno Deschamps, as Clara Devaux, as Manie, as Angélique, as Franck Moreno

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.