Gabriel Axel

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Babette's Feast Review


Excellent
One of those foreign films that everyone's heard of but few have seen, this deliberate and nuanced Oscar winner takes some patience but rewards the viewer in the end. The feast in question doesn't really come up until halfway into the film, when the French refugee Babette who serves as a maid to the Danish sisters who took her in inherits a sum of money. Rather than saving it, she blows it all on a gourmet feast for the sisters and their congregation as a show of thanks for taking her in. The puzzlement the Danes (who pretty much eat only boiled fish every day) exhibit over her odd cuisine is alone enough to make the film worth watching (and Babette's preparation of the meal -- and its consumption -- is enthralling). Cold and lonely in the grand tradition of Scandinavian cinema, this is a seminal work about repressed emotions and the inevitable self-doubt about our life's decisions that we all experience. Enjoy with a bottle of wine.

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