Danish director, Gabriel Axel, brought this moving Oscar-winning movie to life in a very simple tale. This story is all about character’s and their development through a feast. While this may not appeal to everyone the movie does take hold of you about halfway through to pull you into the character’s concerns about allowing the acceptance of one woman from another land to change up their customs.
Two sisters are growing up in a remote village in Denmark during the 19th century with their father who is the pastor of a small Protestant church where basically everyone in the village is very involved with and equally dedicated t. While suitors try to pursue the sisters, and give them a life outside the village both of them opt to instead take care of their father, and the older members of the church. After the passing of their father a servant arrives as a gift from someone in their past. When the women want to honor the legacy of their pastor father she volunteers to make a grand French feast from her homeland, but both the women are concerned of what she will cook considering she is foreign and Catholic.
There are so many lessons in this one movie, and that is what makes it a classic. Thankfully, the movie does not run that long or it would be much slower than it was. Because of the fact it is just a story based on the characters it can make it a bit slow. The point where the story reaches the peak of it being most interesting is the anticipation of the feast, and the film does well to not only increase the character’s fears, but also the viewers. Even we are wondering what awaits at this feast upon seeing what is arrived to be cooked for it as it still thrives with life.
Stephanie Audran is the lead as Babette. She does a good job in her role as far as making her likable, but also a little bit sneaky enough to actually be plotting something for the feast. It works to keep the viewer watching in a movie otherwise filled with very normal characters. You’re more so wondering how Flippa and Martine feel about the sacrifice they have made with their lives to stay in this village. They seem happy, but by the end you do wonder what they wish as far as the path they have chosen. There is a touching scene between one of the sisters, and General Lorens that causes you to see a little more of a sister’s feelings than thought.
Each scene also has good pacing. It was slow for the first part of the movie, but the fact that each scene wasn’t stayed on too long helped. We get the gist of the back stories quickly enough to move on to the real intent of the movie, which is the feast. Also, the film is one that is appropriate enough for all audiences with a good lesson. The director knows how to put in the friction between the characters in the church, and work toward how the feast will be a huge factor in affecting how these people walk away from it changed for the better or worse.
Babette’s Feast isn’t the most interesting film in the world, and there are times where it feels like having a little background music would have tied the movie together more with a bit of emotion. The character development is where it lies though, and that is the intent. If you’re looking for a movie that will make you feel good then this is it. Plus, it shows people basically enjoying food. Also, one of the characters makes mention of when Jesus visited Cana. The Bible relation to how Jesus encouraged celebration and food as a way of being an act on earth to enjoy by making more wine for the wedding there spoke a lot about the film’s intent itself.
Rating 3 of 5