Sunday, February 9, 2014

Babettes gæstebud (Babette's Feast) 1987

Food is love!  That's the theme for today's film from Denmark, Babette's Feast.  This is a great movie, especially if you're a foodie like me.  I only recently got cable, but if my tv ever broke and I could only watch one channel, I would want it to be Food Network.  I love cooking shows, cooking competitions, and eating! I will give this film an 8/10.
 A long time ago lived two sisters, Martine and Filippa, who live with their father, a pastor who has a loyal following.  They are very devoted to serve their little church and community.  One day, a handsome officer named Lorens comes to the church and falls in love with Martine.  But, after realizing that she will never leave her father, he sadly leaves. He ends up marrying a lady-in-waiting to the queen, but he always has a soft spot in his heart for Martine. 

The other sister, Filippa, also has her chance to leave.  She has a beautiful singing voice, and is heard by a visiting French opera singer while in the church.  He offers to give her singing lessons, and believes she will be successful in France.  She refuses his advances, and denies her chance to sing opera in order to stay with her father and the church.

Years later, there is terrible trouble in France, and a woman's husband and son are killed.  She is forced to flee the county for her safety.  Her friend, the French opera singer, suggests that she go to the sister's place.  She does, and begs for them to take her in.  She offers to work as a housekeeper and cook for free, and they agree to take her in.  This woman is Babette, and we can easily see that's she a natural around food.  I don't know what was going on in France back then, but it was so bad that she stayed with the sisters for 14 years.

On the anniversary of what would be the father/pastor's 100 birthday, the sisters decide to throw a dinner party for the congregation, which has dwindled down to a small but devoted family.  And, like any tight knit family, there is a lot of bickering and holding grudges.  Meanwhile, Babette has won the lottery and offers to make a decadent French feast for the party.  They are hesistant but agree.  What ensues is the most elaborate feast you will ever see.  Babette's love is shown through her food, and as the guests partake in the dinner, they stop fighting and forgive each other.  Lorens, who is now a general, also is at the dinner party and recognizes the food from a restaurant he went to in France.  Through Lorens's explanation of the dishes, the modest church-goers are more apt to try to unusual elaborate food.

At the end, everyone is happy and no one is bickering any more.  Babette actually spent her lottery winnings on the elaborate dinner, and all the alcoholic drinks to accompany it.  She did it because she had no reason to return to France, and that her true home was with the sisters.  And everyone lived happily ever after. The end.


  1. i am happy you liked this one. It has been a while since I saw it, but it did make an impact on me. Seeing all those fishermen struggle with the elaborate dinner is culture shock of the third degree.
    Incidentally the director Gabriel Axel died yesterday 95 years old. If you are interested here is the article. You can take it through a translation program.