In honor of Julia Child’s upcoming 100th birthday, we’re going to feature some of my favorite foodie movies through the end of August. A big thank you to our favorite Movie Critic – Paul McGuire for sharing his review of this weeks movie!
NO RESERVATIONS (2007)
Director: Scott Hicks (Shine, The Lucky One)
Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago), Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine)
“I wish there was a cookbook for life, you know? Recipes telling us exactly what to do.”
Kate Armstrong (Zeta-Jones) is a brilliant head chef with an impeccable palette who will defend her cooking to any customer or sous chef. She is addicted to her job and hasn’t been in a relationship in four years. During a busy night, she gets a call at the restaurant that her sister and niece Zoe (Breslin) have been in a car accident leaving Zoe the sole survivor. She returns to work thinking that cooking will take her mind off of it, but it is no use. Her restaurant manager Paula (Patricia Clarkson) demands she take a week off to recover from the tragedy. She revisits a note her sister left her claiming that if anything happened to her she would be the only one to raise Zoe. She turns to her therapist for help as she has no clue how to raise a child. The idea of cooking her fish sticks instead of roast duck blows her mind.
She returns to work to find that Chef Nick Palmer (Eckhart) has taken over. He is an exuberant, loud, and energetic opera lover that is dying to work with her. She is less than impressed and fears that he has taken over her kitchen. Kate brings Zoe into the kitchen in an attempt to spend more time with her. Kate watches as Nick slowly starts to bond with her and gets her to open up. Zoe takes in interest in cooking and attempts to set up Kate and Nick on a date. After Zoe and Nick cook dinner for Kate one night, Kate starts to realize he is not the obnoxious sous chef she thought he was at the beginning.
No Reservations is a sweet and charming foodie romance. Like many foodie movies, you will notice the common theme that the power of food can bring people together. The soundtrack is composed of many famous arias by Pucci and Verdi as well as a score by Philip Glass. It starts off a little dramatic but it lightens up as the sparks between Kate and Nick heat up. Zeta-Jones, Eckhart, and Breslin all give believable performances.
Whenever I watch a foodie movie, I try to spot if the actors know how to hold a knife or chop an onion. These actors both seem to know what they are doing in the kitchen. Eckhart is always good at delivering charm and appeal. Breslin definitely shows off her spunky attitude all too common with kids her age. The movie would be perfect for a variety of occasions. It could be great for a mother and daughter movie and dinner night. You could take your daughter’s favorite meal like macaroni and cheese and try to make a more sophisticated version of it. Introduce them to fresh ingredients found at a farmer’s market or cheese shop to liven it up instead of using your standard box of Velveeta. It would be extra special if you plan, shop, and cook the meal together. The movie would also work for a romantic date night or for a rainy day at the cabin.
If you’ve seen the movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave your comments belong on No Reservations or any of your other foodie movie favorites!
Paul McGuire, Movie Critic