The Taste of Others

"Excellent"

The Taste of Others Review


In The Taste of Others, a wealthy suburban businessman named Castella gets infatuated with a theatrical actress and becomes a frequent visitor of her bohemian circle of friends. The premise might not be very original but the delicious twist of the story is that it is not so much about Castella's pursuit as it is about how different social strata are formed and how they intersect with one another.

Castella (Jean-Pierre Bacri) and his wife have to attend a local stage production of Bérénice, in which their daughter plays a small part. They don't care for the theatre and can't understand the verse, but, to Castella's own surprise, he finds himself unusually moved by a leading actress Clara. The charming point here is that Clara isn't a young aspiring theatrical diva but an aging, harried, and often unemployed actress from a small provincial theatre. Castella, however, doesn't see her that way: For him, she brings into his dispassionate routine the whiff of a free-spirited life including cozy, drunken late-night talks and vibrant gallery gatherings. Through happenstance, Castella's new business arrangement requires him to learn English, and Clara (Anne Alvaro) becomes his teacher.

Despite the fact that Clara's friends are contemptuous of Castella for his ignorance, plebian tastes, and crass jokes, the businessman shows up at every reception or theatrical premiere. His is not a vicious fellow, not by any stretch, and his homophobic remarks are devoid of malice -- he is simply too unimaginative to go beyond his usual milieu -- and as long as he is dancing on his toes, Clara is ferociously dismissive of his courtship. The film elegantly hints, however, at the fact that even a small reversal of fortune can bring up a philistine in the most uncompromising of artists.

The film doesn't shock the viewer in any way, but it is full of delightful, witty, and keen observations on human behavior, the social fiber of people's close circles, and those quiet, under-the-breath moments that capture the essence of people's tastes and choices. It also makes a curious observation of the mechanism that brings two people together and how impossible it is to explain the complexity of attraction between seemingly incongruent people.

Castella's wife, for example, with the ironic name Angelique (Christiane Millet), is an easily recognizable type of a rich bored housewife. An interior designer by profession, Angelique decorates her house to make it look like a flower shop, and she herself is always decked out in unbearably motley dresses. She is the film's emotional freak, oblivious to anything but her rabid little dog and a philosophy of the moral superiority of animals over humans.

The cast's regular bartender Manie (Agnes Jaoui, who also directed the film) is sleeping with both Castella's bodyguard Moreno (Gerard Lanvin) and the chauffeur Deschamps (Alain Chabat). She is accepted among the artists, for she is uncompromisingly independent and fearless, while Castella gets laughed at in his face. An interesting development takes place when Manie and Moreno discover that they perhaps stumble into a serious relationship: Moreno's morality doesn't allow him to accept Manie's selling drugs to supplement her income but does allow for his own brainless, painfully boring job.

Agnes Jaoui's directorial debut is shot in a plain, well-paced style: Nothing is rushed or crumpled and, besides following the story, there are always snippets of other people's life as background, helping you remember the larger tapestry of life. Also, the filmmaker uses the charming device of starting a scene in one place and, nonchalantly, ending it in another, giving the story a sense of both completeness and fragmentation at the same time.

The Taste of Others doesn't reach into the deeply-rooted causes of why people end up having one circle of friends and not another. It does show, however, that we tend to be reluctant to accept others into our established boundaries. This 112-minute long film has a light yet precious tinge of the great British writer William Somerset Maugham's wit and irony, but without his incisive and cynical attitude toward life.

Aka Le goût des autres.

Taste's good.



The Taste of Others

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st March 2000

Distributed by: Artistic License Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 57

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Christian Bérard,

Starring: as Jean-Charles Castella, as Bruno Deschamps, as Clara Devaux, as Manie, as Angélique, as Franck Moreno

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.