Sunday, November 2, 2008

Really Good Romance Movie

Hubby stopped by the rental place yesterday to pick up a movie to share, and grabbed two for Kidlet and one extra for me while he was there.

He picked good.

"No Reservations" (2007), based on the German film "Bella Martha" (2001), is a sweet, well-written and acted romance. Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and Abigail Breslin.

Summary from

A master chef, Kate, lives her life like she runs the kitchen at upscale 22 Bleecker Restaurant in Manhattan--with a no-nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her. With breathtaking precision, she powers through each hectic shift, coordinating hundreds of meals, preparing delicate sauces, seasoning and simmering each dish to absolute perfection.

Sent to therapy by the restaurant owner because she is cold, unyielding, rule-bound, and a pain in the neck, Kate's world is flipped over when her only sister dies and her ten-year-old niece, Zoe, comes to live with her. As Kate struggles to be a parent to a grief-stricken child, the one world she used to control - the restaurant kitchen - is changed utterly by the restaurant's hiring a second chef, the loose, operatic, Italian-trained Nick, who claims it's an honor to work in Kate's kitchen but who she suspects wants to replace her. Can the music of Puccini and the taste of good pasta soften Kate's heart?

It's billed as "warm-hearted and funny," which means keep the tissues handy. Zeta-Jones' experience as a mother no doubt helped her bring the necessary emotions forward in her role as Kate. Breslin shows great promise as an actress so far in her career, coming nowhere near overplaying her grief in this role. The scene where she meets Nick is especially well-done.

This I've-never-heard-of-it movie jumped into Hubby's hand due to the chef aspect of the story. We're fans of "Hell's Kitchen" and Chef Ramsey's other show "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares." A nice side-effect of watching a professional chef teach up-and-coming chefs the business is that Hubby is more willing to allow me to experiment with food for his dinner. I get more variety in my food and less upset when he gives feedback on how to improve or change the recipe. He has the palate (snort), I have the skills to cook the ingredients. It works for us.

Hubby came downstairs to check how I liked the film, about an hour in, and he started watching it with me. Sucked in totally. He was even guessing out loud what the characters would do next to solve the problems getting in their way (quite acurately). Later, to his friend, he loudly proclaimed it a "chick flick." Uh-huh. "It wasn't bad," he said. He was very pleased he found a film I enjoyed to gift me with for the afternoon.

Find this film and watch it. You won't be sorry. Themes of grief, love, control, and career satisfaction.