[Review] Tasting Menu

I’m a huge fan of cooking, but have never found myself to enjoy films that center around someone who enjoys the same hobby as I do. Regardless of my stubborn belief, I always do my best to keep an open mind to things that I have already labeled as pointless by giving them another try. On this note, I decided to view Tasting Menu, and just like with my food, I was disappointed when I discovered the lack of spice this film brought to me. It’s attempt at complexity was diminished with the over-utilization of plot lines, and to be honest I still have no idea what I was supposed to take away from my viewing.

Tasting Menu
Director: Roger Gual
Rating: PG-13
Release Date: April 18, 2014

At the height of her success, Chef Mar Vidal (Vincenta N’Dongo) has decided that she is going to close down her world famous restaurant. Marc (Jan Cornet) and Rachel (Claudia Bassols) made a reservation at this restaurant a year beforehand without the knowledge that it would also be the last night of the establishment’s existence. The event, for this reason, makes the occasion even more important, yet Marc and Rachel are no longer together. The dinner is the first reunion between the pair since their split a year earlier, and neither of them were stubborn enough to give up their seats at the coveted restaurant. The night is still young, and it seems that everyone in the restaurant is going to have a memorable experience on this evening of conclusions.

The initial premise of this film sounds kind of charming. A couple rekindling their lost fire of a relationship over a once in a lifetime opportunity dinner seems like something that a person could relate to in one way or another. However, on top of this plot there’s a lot of other minor ones, such as a widowed countess who was close friends with the chef and two Japanese men escorted by a Spanish girl who becomes interested in Marc. Not to mention Rachel’s boss shows up with the hopes of extending their relationship to a very new level. Because of all of these different plot lines, I endured the whole film hoping that they would all come together to make one. To my dismay, I felt as if I endured a whole 90 minute introduction into what could potentially be a few good movies. In fact, it felt like I was just getting a few samples from a Tasting Menu of the whole film. 

tasting menu old lady

I thought that there were a lot of ideas from this film that could have been very great as different films. The countess’s relationship with the chef would have been a nice coming of age film about sharing old experiences with youth, the escort of the Japanese men could have possibly been the other woman in a shaky relationship with a woman and her ex, or it could have solely centered around the woman and her ex. Regardless, these are all very strong plot points that might just have been too independent to bounce off one another. In the end, the movie came off to me as a collection of cliches, and unfortunately I still have no idea what I was to take away from my viewing of it. Potential lies underneath the surface of all of these different plots, but it’s too scattered to follow. A bit of narrowing in topic choice would turn this film that was very bland and two-dimensional into a work that is a bit more full of life. 

Mackenzie O'Brien

Mackenzie O’Brien is a Digital Cinema major with a concentration in Screenwriting at DePaul University. When she isn’t applying SPF 100+ to her translucent skin, she’s usually avoiding the sun’s fiendish ways by watching films, catching concerts, and (most importantly) writing.

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