Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (1994)

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Nothing says “I love you” like cooking an absurd amount of food every Sunday

Words: Desmond Childs

Alright, I’m going to cut to the chase on this film. It’s billed as a family-centered drama, with a tinge of humor. Who ever gave this movie that short, precise synposis was DEAD ON the money.The sense of “together-ness” in family movies is essential, and the lack thereof in this movie was enough to make me want to turn it off after an hour or so. Ang Lee and his crew want very badly to present the lives of the characters on screen as unpredictable and sometimes overbearing. What we get is a bad soap opera of cliched relationships, failed expectations, and poorly written plot devices and schemes. At one point I actually laughed. It’s never a good sign when certain characters aren’t given a second thought UNTIL they become pregnant or fall in love with someone much older than themselves. With no character development, 80% of what unfolded within the last 45 minutes was completely unearned. The film drifts sullenly toward the third act and then speeds through toward the end. That was an awesome pace….in Die Hard. This is romantic comedy! We expect wit, cunning, and skill in our characters; not to mention a bit of depth. Not only did this film fail to make me laugh, but there was not a strong attempt to establish some sort of chemistry between actors on screen. Those are two sins I’m unwilling to forgive! (At least, for this movie)

Directed By: 

Ang Lee

Ang-lee-on-the-set-of-bro-001

Synopsis and Analysis: “Life is like coooking, oh wait, I was mistaken.”

Ang Lee is an accomplished filmmaker, with many of his projects garnering industry awards worldwide. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001), won him an Academy Award for “Best Picture” and “Best Director”. He also won an Academy Award for “Best Picture” with his film, Brokeback Mountain(2006). Lee’s other eleven features have also garnered accolades. The word around the film industry is that Ang Lee has a knack for storytelling. Apparently, a knack worthy of multiple Academy Award nominations. However, this film is not a good testament to Lee’s strength in filmmaking. The pace drifts all about, characters dart in and out of the plot, while the themes are convoluted by a lazily written screenplay. Even if the actors on screen were to blame for the lack of human emotion in the majority of this film, it’s Lee’s job to bring that out of them. The characters seemed to either be wallowing in self pity or bickering about their various life choices. There doesn’t really seem to be any strong subtext to any of it. The father in the story is an old man who has had to raise three daughters by himself. The daughters struggle to make a name for themselves in various parts of their careers and lives; while the father desperately tries to find a way to “matter” again to anybody. The movie than stems off into the love lives of the three daughters, all of which are not expounded upon well enough for the audience to care. Then, the story shifts back to the family dilemma of “whose willing to live with Dad and keep him company” chapter. Finally, we get to see all these inconvenient, yet inevitable situations plant themselves right on the faces of the characters onscreen. Without spoiling too much, we get a pregnacy, an un-approved marriage; and than we get a random, buzz killing twist thrown in to draw up a…chuckle from of the audience? Ang Lee must’ve wanted us to laugh. It’s like once he realized this story wasn’t all that interesting he curtailed the end and made the falling action as absurd as possible as to give the audience something to remember; good or bad. By the way, the father in this film experiences a handful of hardships, but he’s suppose to feel better and more connected to his family because he regains his sense of taste? REALLY!? I understand the subtext Lee was going for, but it’s one heck of a misfire, lemme tell ya’.

 

 

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