Fun, sexy and richly rewarding, The Taste of Others earned an Academy Award® nomination as Best Foreign Language Film (2000)! The lives and loves of several completely opposite men and women artfully intersect in what becomes a delightfully funny web of romantic entanglements! While negotiating differences in wealth and status, style and taste, this vivid collection of characters mix and match in outrageously volatile combinations! Internationally acclaimed for its sexy comic sophistication – expect the unexpected from this uncommonly entertaining motion picture!
‘Le goût des autres’ is basically one of the best Woody Allen films that Allen never made. It’s the French equivalent of his better dramedies, along the lines of ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’: the characters (and the way they intermingle), quality of acting, story, humour, settings, even the camera work and the music reminded me of his films.
Of course, as anyone who knows Allen’s works can attest, it’s sometimes hard to describe them: many are about the characters’ relationships and pretty much nothing else. Those films are about the richness of the dialogues and the emotional journeys we follow our characters on; there isn’t an easy resume to make.
Thus, in lieu of a commentary proper, since I’d blandly say that everything about it is rock solid, let me give you a brief portrait of the main characters and how they relate to each other:
-Angélique: a wannabe interior designer who imposes on her sister-in-law, is blind to her dog’s viciousness and oblivious to the distance her husband, Jean-Jacques, is taking.
-Bruno: Jean-Jacques’ soft-spoken driver, who has befriended Franck and is waiting for the return of his girlfriend – who has been away for months, studying in the United States.
-Clara: English teacher by day, theatre actress by night, and in the beginning stages of a mid-life crisis. She longs for love, but refuses to indulge Jean-Jacques, whom she can only barely tolerate.
-Franck: a womanizing bodyguard with a conservative streak, he falls for his polar opposite, Manie, causing no end of tension between them.
-Jean-Jacques: an unsophisticated businessman, who inexplicably becomes obsessed with Clara and, in trying to immerse himself in her world, falls in with her artiste friends.
-Manie: a waitress with an flexible attitude about relationships and a fairly profitable drug peddling business on the side. She and Clara are friends.
There are other important characters, of course, such as Jean-Jacques’ newly-separated sister, who feels distant from her brother and is too battered to brush off her step-sister, Jean-Jacques’ long-suffering business advisor, and Clara’s artist friend, who indulges Jean-Jacques despite the latter’s crassness.
All in all, that’s what you get: close to two hours of these characters mixing it up, to great comedic and dramatic effect.
My only issue is with the DVD’s subtitles, because I got a sense that some of the humour was lost in translation; I would have preferred French subtitles, because they would have been exact.
So, if you like Woody Allen’s dramedies, enjoy foreign films, and/or love watching the flow of interpersonal relationships, I’d highly recommend ‘Le goût des autres’. While I’m surprised that it was nominated for an Oscar (Allen himself rarely gets nominations), it makes sense that it won numerous European awards – it’s a rich and textured slice of human life.