The Taste of Others

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The Taste of Others ★★★ Le Gout des Autres 2000

This classy import is a hard sell to American audiences; first, it's in French, and second, it begins as if the first reel is missing—the low-key action opens with two banal conversations at separate tables. Actress/writer Jaoui, in her directorial debut, takes time in sorting out relationships. Eventually it becomes clear that married, boorish businessman Castella (Bacri) is falling for 40-year-old actress Clara (Alvaro), who's fretting about aging and her uncertain prospects, and who has been hired to teach Castella English. He pursues, she resists—at first. Meanwhile, Castella's tough bodyguard Moreno (Lanvin) is involved with Clara's friend, free-spirited barmaid Manie (Jaoui). For fans of Rohmer, it works. The characters are engagingly different and interesting. The film looks as sharp and polished as a comparable Hollywood ensemble comedy. French with subtitles. 112m/C DVD . FR Jean-Pierre Bacri, Christiane Millet, Agnes Jaoui, Anne Alvaro, Gerard Lanvin, Wladimir Yordanoff, Brigitte Catillon, Xavier De Guillebon, Alain Chabat, Raphael Defour; D: Agnes Jaoui; W: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Agnes Jaoui; C: Laurent Dailland; M: Jean-Charles Jarrell.