The Thanksgiving holiday is soon approaching and that leaves just one thing on my mind — food. While there are plenty of Thanksgiving movies I could write about, it’s the food movies that I find lingering in my mind.
I find all these films to be sort of comforting in one way or another, but all showcase the love of cooking and sharing a meal with those around you.
I do have to make two small suggestions before you dive in. Put on your stretchy pants and make sure to grab some snacks. It is nearly impossible to watch these next movies without wanting to share in the joy of eating.
‘BIG NIGHT’ (1996)
This movie, while not being at all about the holiday, feels a lot like Thanksgiving. The story follows two Italian brothers, Primo and Secondo, as they fight to keep their restaurant open. In a last-ditch effort, they prepare to host a dinner for a celebrity guest in hopes that it will draw up more business. It is in preparation for this titular “big night” that the parallels to Thanksgiving can be found.
With the fate of the restaurant depending on this visit, the brothers’ frustrations with each other begin to rise. They work to create a very special dish that (much like a Thanksgiving turkey) takes time and patience to prepare. As their dinner guests gather at a long table, they are presented with an assortment of mouthwatering dishes, which earn this movie its spot on the list.
As someone with very little self-control when it comes to holiday … who am I kidding … all meals, the most relatable scenes in this movie come after the food has been served. It’s a great depiction of the feeling you get after everyone has stuffed themselves and there’s a strong sense of both satisfaction and regret, but still room for dessert.
Notable food moment – Brothers Primo and Secondo preparing fresh past from scratch.
‘JULIE AND JULIA’ (2009)
Inspired by a true story, this film follows Julie Powell as she cooks her way through Julia Child’s famous cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Frustrated with her career and feeling lost as her 30th birthday approaches, Julie sets out to recreate every recipe in the book over a year’s time. Wanting to get back into her love of writing, her husband suggests she document this food journey in a blog.
Julie begins to work her way through these recipes. Meanwhile the film flashes back to the life of Julia Child. Julia, a remarkably tall woman, is portrayed by Meryl Streep with some very clever camera and set work. We see glimpses into her life as she falls in love with French cuisine and begins her quest to write the now famous cookbook. As the story progresses, the lives of these two women begin to parallel. Both wonder if their work will ever be truly appreciated and long to have their writing published. All this while creating delectable dishes that will be sure to get your stomach growling.
Directed by rom-com legend Nora Ephron in what would be her last film, this is a light and cozy movie perfect for the holiday break.
Notable food moment – Every time someone makes boeuf bourguignon. Someone please make me some boeuf bourguignon.
It’s not often that I find an animated film that I really enjoy but this is one that I have a soft spot for. It’s a silly and simple concept. The last thing someone wants to see in their kitchen is a rat. But what if that rat could cook like a five-star chef?
Remy the rat, voiced by one of my personal favorites, Patton Oswalt, has the gift of a refined palate. This refined taste makes him an outcast from the other rats in his clan. After Remy is separated from his family, he finds himself washed out into the sewers of Paris. He discovers that he has landed right under the restaurant of his idol, the now deceased chef Gusteau. When Remy teams up with the restaurant garbage boy, Linguini, they begin creating masterful dishes that garner the attention of the food critics.
Watching as Remy lovingly prepares every meal will surely give you all the inspiration you need to want to hop into the kitchen yourself and help with the Thanksgiving dinner.
Notable food moment – The moment the titular ratatouille dish is served. Cartoon food has never looked so good.