From the art house to the animation studio, food is often a central character in movies. At Devour, we fully support the inclusion of all foods in starring roles, whether it’s meatballs falling from the sky or a documentary about fungi. We’ve been working on a list of some of our favourites and are happy to share them with you.
Chef (2014): Jon Favreau has had a remarkable career as an actor and producer. He wrote, directed and produced Chef, a movie that will give you all the feels. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking, the acting is superb, and it captures a lot of the essence of life as a food truck owner. The film tells the story of Carl Casper, a recently fired chef who buys a food truck as a way to recover his inspiration for cooking. With a stellar cast that include Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt and some fun cameos. Available for rent on YouTube.
Chocolat (2000): Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche star in this adorable movie about a chocolate shop in a small French village. The town has some very particular views about morality, but the owner of the chocolate shop (played by Binoche) stirs things up with her concoction that might or might be magical and her view of life and how to make the most of living. Many laugh out loud moments, and some tears, but a cast of wonderfully colourful characters. Available on Netflix.
No Reservations (2007): Adapted from the German film, Mostly Martha (2002), No Reservations is just a feel-good movie. Starring Katherine Zeta-Jones as a lonely chef (critics took issue with this, saying she was too beautiful to be plausible as a lonely heart), the movie tells Kate’s story, from her obsession with perfection in the kitchen, to the uprooting of all she knows. When she has to take guardianship of her niece, Kate has to deal with a new chef – played by Aaron Eckhart – hired to fill the gap, and naturally, they are worlds apart. The film is predictable but lighthearted through to the end. Available for rent on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Animated Family Movies
Ratatouille (2007): To this day, Ratatouille is a family favourite. On the surface, the premise is ridiculous: a rat with a desire to cook, meets a cook with the desire to be a chef, plants himself on the human’s head and manipulates his actions by pulling his hair. But this is Disney/Pixar, the masters of storytelling. The film is entertaining and engaging for all ages. The scene with Ego the food critic and the title dish will bring back every memory of your favorite childhood dishes too. Available on Disney +.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009): You can’t help but love Flint Lockwood, the main character and inventor in this Sony Animation movie. Flint never gives up, even when his inventions go off the rails. When he creates a machine that turns water into food, he is the hero in his town, a place that fell on hard times and sustains itself with sardines. There are many laugh out loud moments, and ironic touches (I mean, the Eiffel Tower topped with a BLT? Zut alors!) The movie was such a success, the studio followed it up with a sequel four years later. Both available on Amazon Prime.
Bao (2018): Directed by Canadian animation artist Domee Shi (Pixar’s first woman to direct an animated film), this Oscar-winning short film tells the story of a Canadian-Chinese middle aged woman suffering from empty nest syndrome. She gets a second chance when one of her homemade bao buns comes to life. It’s whimsical and captures all the essence of motherhood. Be prepared to cry and then go down the rabbit hole of Pixar shorts. Available on Disney +.
Cooked (2016): This 4-episode documentary miniseries from Netflix is based on author Michael Pollan’s book of the same name. Each episode focuses on one of the four elements: earth, air, water and fire and their relationship to ancient and modern cooking methods. We have it on good authority that this beautifully shot series is the perfect way to spend a cold afternoon, huddled on the couch with some bread, cheese and wine. Available on Netflix.
Kiss the Ground (2020): Also from Netflix, Kiss the Ground introduces viewers to regenerative agriculture, a variety of measures that can be taken to restore carbon to the planet’s soil and make agriculture healthy for the planet. It’s a fascinating look at how technology, tradition and innovation might be able to reverse climate change by starting with the ground beneath our feet. Available on Netflix.
Fabulous Fungi (2019): Mycologists (those who study fungus) like to joke that one day, fungi will take over the planet. From the very first frame, the film captivates you with incredible animations. You will learn more about mushrooms than you even knew there was to know. The experts in the film share the medicinal, magical and environmental wonders of the plant life that adorns our forests and our plates. Available on Netflix.
Movies You May Have Missed
Big Night (1996): We have to put this one on our list for so many reasons. First of all, it’s an endearing story of two brothers who immigrate to New York in the 1950s and open up their own Italian restaurant. Never in the history of movies involving food has there been a better reveal than the timpano. Secondly, the movie was Stanely Tucci’s directorial debut and has a star-studded cast. And lastly, Tucci was diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2018 and lost his ability to taste food. He has been quoted as saying everything he ate tasted like “wet cardboard slathered with someone’s excrement.” Fast forward to 2021, and he has found his passion for food again, as is demonstrated in the CNN series “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Available for rent on Amazon Prime and YouTube.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011): This documentary film tells the story of 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono and his renowned Tokyo restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, tucked into a 10-seat space in a Tokyo subway station. The restaurant was the first sushi restaurant to receive 3 Michelin stars and the film follows Jiro’s passion for sushi, the business of the shop and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu. It’s a testament to the idea that brilliant food can be found anywhere. Available with a premium subscription on Amazon Prime.
The Lunch Box (2013): A romantic comedy set amidst the chaos of Mumbai, The Lunchbox tells the story of a relationship built around a misdirected lunch box. The movie stars the late Irrfan Khan, a prolific actor from India with more than 150 acting credits to his name, including Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi. Available to rent on YouTube and Apple TV.
We hope you find some time to get cozy, grab some Devour Popcorn and lose yourself in some of the Devour team’s favourites. Good movies with good food, we believe, are very good for the soul.