Feast of Love is an unabashedly romantic look at the
contribution of love to human existence. Set entirely in a
beautifully photographed Portland, it's an ensemble drama about
the romantic interludes of connected lives - sort of a stateside
version of Love Actually.
Acting as a character but also sometimes seeming omniscient,
Morgan Freeman plays an elder statesman who dispenses wisdom
tempered with grandfatherly love. He's sort of a combination of
the Oracle of Delphi, Socrates and Jesus: all knowing,
all-loving, yet always speaking just indirectly enough and
leaving just enough wiggle room in his perfectly modulated
pronouncements that those who seek his counsel ultimately have
to make up their own minds.
You know, the same role Freeman plays in every movie.
Greg Kinnear is a sweet-hearted schmuck who is clueless about
women. His first wife leaves him for another woman. His second
wife never even bothered to give up her boyfriend when she
married Kinnear. Greg seems to miss the little clues. For
example, when his first wife is in a bar after a softball game
and the opposing shortstop rubs her thighs and tells her that
the song on the jukebox is now "their song," Greg takes no
notice. When his second wife has to think before, "I do." Greg
doesn't think it's all that bad.
You know, the same role Kinnear plays in every movie.
Jane Alexander plays the meddling, yet compassionate, old
busybody who discusses all the other characters with her wise
You know, the same role Alexander plays in Tell Me You Love
Me, and will probably play in every future movie.
Well, one certainly has to offer a tip o' the hat to the
The other key relationships involve the chemistry
between Kinnear's second wife (Radha Mitchell) and the guy she
really loves behind Kinnear's back, and a couple of idealistic
youngsters who are desperate for money.
The attitude of the people who loved the movie can be summed
Time's capsule summary
"Sexy, funny, sad and defiantly romantic, Feast of Love is
the rare movie to cuddle up to."
The attitude of the people who hated this movie can be summed
the Guardian's one-star review, written by Peter Bradshaw.
"Robert 'Kramer Vs Kramer' Benton directs this
syrupy, drivelly, snivelly nonsense, which stars
Morgan Freeman as a wise, humorous, rumbly-voiced
wearer of reading glasses - great to see Morgan
challenging himself as an actor, isn't it?
Squeaky-clean Greg Kinnear plays his friend, a
lovelorn romantic guy who runs a coffee shop yuckily
It is a supposedly heartwarming emotional drama in
what I call the life-affirming-laughter-and-tears
genre - ie, the genre that makes me want to spray the
nearest shopping mall with bullets before turning the
gun on myself. Kinnear's wife runs out on him with
another woman, like an episode from TV's The L Word,
but this faintly interesting storyline is supplanted
by others far more boring and unreal, reeking with
phoney empathy and creepy lite-eroticism. If it's a
choice between cleaning out the shed and seeing this -
opt for the shed. "
Those two reviews, and all of their subtext, probably tell
you everything you need to know about the film.
Bradshaw does have a point. You'll have to keep your hankies
nearby, because this is a classic chick-flick in the
sub-division of weep-fest. Furthermore, there is nothing new here in terms of the characters, and the
plot is so transparent that every single event in the film,
without exception, is telegraphed about five scenes in advance.
Don't expect any surprises.
But Bradshaw's point is not just about the movie. It's also
about him, and his own disdain for this kind of unhip film. The
way I see it is that
the film's failures in depth and originality must be balanced
against a generosity of spirit that will inspire you to feel
better about the human race when you leave the theater than when
you went in. Some people actually like a movie to cuddle
up to. I was impressed enough with the film's
message that I will buy copies for my niece
and my new daughter-in-law.