The Taste of Things

The Taste of Things
A bit of a tearjerker of a romantic drama that is ultimately about a mutual love of cooking.

The Taste of Things

Release Date: February 16, 2024
Runtime: 02:15
The story of Eugenie, an esteemed cook, and Dodin, the fine gourmet who she has been working for over the last 20 years.

A romance blossoms between a cook and the gourmet she worked for the past twenty years in . Set in 1885 France, Eugénie Chatagne () has been working for gourmet Dodin Bouffant (), cooking exquisite meals for Dodin's friends. Though the latter has rebuffed multiple marriage proposals, Dodin and Eugénie share a casual romance. As Dodin prepares a new menu for the Prince of Europa, Eugénie gets plagued with fainting spells. As Dodin does something for Eugénie that he has never done – cook for her.

The Taste of Things Synopsis

The Taste of Things is a historical romantic drama co-written and directed by Anh Hung Tran, loosely based on the novel The Life and Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet by Marcel Rouff. The film stars Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria) as Eugénie Chatagne, the longtime cook for Dodin Bouffant, played by Benoît Magimel (Paris Memories), a real-life former partner of Binoche. The film begins with Eugénie and Dodin creating an exquisite multi-course meal, featuring everything from Vol-au-vent to Baked Alaska, all while child culinary prodigy Pauline (), the niece of assistant cook Violette (), observes in wonder.

Dodin shares an unrequited love for Eugénie and they share an arrangement, where he can join her if the bedroom door is unlocked. However, Eugénie begins suffering from a series of fainting spells, which Dodin's doctor friend Rabaz () can't fully explain. This results in Dodin finally making the grand gesture that he and Eugénie should spend the autumn of their lives together.

My Thoughts on The Taste of Things

The first half hour or so of The Taste of Things is food porn at its most mouth-watering. The film's dishes were consulted by Three-star chef Pierre Gagnaire and consist of many sinful pleasures, often featuring rich cream or Bourguignotte sauces. On top of the romantic plot of the film, The Taste of Things is very much a love letter to French cuisine.

When the story of The Taste of Things begins, Dodin Bouffant and Eugénie Chatagne have already known each other for two decades and, despite being affectionate for each other, have never committed to a full-on romantic relationship. As Eugénie develops a mysterious health ailment, it is perhaps a sign to Dodin that he try and solidify his love for Eugénie before it is too late. As such, he chooses to have a role reversal and have Eugénie be the one who is being cooked for.

Without saying too much, The Taste of Things develops into a bit of a tearjerker during the final act. However, the film also makes sure to emphasize that the connection between Dodin and Eugénie comes from their mutual love of cooking. As such, the film is a romance that is perfect for foodies.

Trailer for The Taste of Things

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.