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Feast of Love Movie Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Feast of Love Movie Review

Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear and Radha Mitchell in Feast of Love.

© MGM
Romance, lust, love, and loss propel an intriguing group of suburban neighbors through life in the touching romantic drama Feast of Love, based on the novel by Charles Baxter. Directed by Robert Benton (Billy Bathgate, The Human Stain), Feast of Love might be a little too schmaltzy for some cynical viewers, but it’s a refreshingly adult and twistedly optimistic take on relationships that should appeal to romantics and mature audiences willing to give in to its sentimental story.

The Story

Professor Harry Stevenson (Morgan Freeman) has taken time off from his teaching duties to recover from the tragic death of his son. His teaching job put him in a position to assist those in need, but now he’s satisfied with quietly observing others going about their everyday lives, lending advice only when specifically asked for his opinion.

Sipping on his coffee in his friend Bradley’s little coffee house, Professor Stevenson has a front row seat to the emotional drama playing out all around him. Even before Bradley realizes he’s about to lose his wife to an unlikely suitor, Harry has it all figured out. Then there’s the handsome yet troubled barrista, Oscar (Toby Hemingway), who serves him his steaming cup of java on a daily basis. Harry knows the minute a beautiful stranger named Chloe (Alexa Davalos) walks into the shop the two are destined to fall deeply in love.

Alexa Davalos and Toby Hemingway in Feast of Love.

© MGM
Harry sees everything and then returns home to his loving wife Esther (Jane Alexander) to report on the day’s events. But love is never easy and lives are too complicated to sum up in snippets. Each of the main players has a secret they’re harboring and each has to deal with their own demons - an abusive father, a prediction of an early death of a loved one, the inability to discontinue an affair – in order to move forward in life.

The Cast

There’s no better actor than Morgan Freeman to play narrator for a story such as this. Freeman’s just so charming and earnest that he's able to take a character like Professor Stevenson and make him instantly into someone we not only trust but also care about.

Freeman’s surrounded by a cast of recognizable faces in Feast of Love including Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets) as the coffee shop owner who slowly opens his eyes to the world. Kinnear’s done a couple of these types of roles before, and he’s well cast as the optimist who keeps on believing in love even when it’s spitting his affection back in his face. Selma Blair and Radha Mitchell admirably play the cheating women who give Kinnear trouble.

But the film’s real shining stars are the youngest actors of the group. Alexa Davalos and Toby Hemingway steal the show from their more veteran co-stars. These two have real chemistry and their story, more so than any of the others, would have been interesting to follow in greater detail. As it is, because this is such an ensemble piece, not nearly enough time is devoted to the pair.

The Bottom Line

With Morgan Freeman playing the audience’s guide through all the intricate, intimate details of multiple relationships, Feast of Love is a delicious, meaty dish. Sure, it’ll appeal more to women than men, but there’s something (and not just nudity for the males) in this for anyone who’s in a relationship, recovering from a bad relationship, or ready to take on a new one.

GRADE: B

Feast of Love is rated R for strong sexual content, nudity and language.

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