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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

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.