14 Movies on Food, Cooking & Sexuality

Posted On: August 10, 2019

For the love of food! Are you a food lover? Many people I know are. How would you like to watch a movie featuring your loves: food, cooking and sexuality? This is a list!

1. The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is an extraordinarily talented and largely self-taught culinary novice. When he and his family are displaced from their native India and settle in a quaint French village, they decide to open an Indian eatery. However, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the proprietress of an acclaimed restaurant just 100 feet away, strongly objects. War erupts between the two establishments, until Mallory recognizes Kadam’s impressive epicurean gifts and takes him under her wing.

2. Toast (2011)

Young Nigel Slater (Freddie Highmore) has big culinary aspirations, even though all his mother (Victoria Hamilton) knows how to make is toast. When his mother dies, relations grow strained between Nigel and his father (Ken Stott), especially when he remarries a woman (Helena Bonham Carter) who wins his heart with a lemon meringue pie. Nigel enters culinary school, starts working in a pub and finds himself competing with his stepmother — both in the kitchen and for his father’s attention.

3. Bon Appetit (2010)

Bon Appétit is a 2010 romantic drama film directed by David Pinillos and written by Juan Carlos Rubio, David Pinillos and Paco Cabezas. The story is based on a young Spanish chef working at a prestigious restaurant in Zurich, Switzerland. He falls in love with a work-partner but she is in love with their boss.

4. No Reservations (2007)

Master chef Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) runs her life and her kitchen with intimidating intensity. However, a recipe for disaster may be in the works when she becomes the guardian of her young niece (Abigail Breslin) while crossing forks with the brash sous-chef (Aaron Eckhart) who just joined her staff. Though romance blooms in the face of rivalry, Kate needs to look outside the kitchen to find true happiness.

5. Spanglish (2004)

Mexican immigrant and single mother Flor Moreno (Paz Vega) finds housekeeping work with Deborah (Téa Leoni) and John Clasky (Adam Sandler), a well-off couple with two children of their own. When Flor admits she can’t handle the schedule because of her daughter, Cristina (Shelbie Bruce), Deborah decides they should move into the Clasky home. Cultures clash and tensions run high as Flor and the Claskys struggle to share space while raising their children on their own, and very different, terms.

6. Tortilla Soup (2001)

Three grown sisters, Maribel (Tamara Mello), Leticia (Elizabeth Peña) and Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors) try to cope and live with their father Martin (Héctor Elizondo) ; a veteran chef who is slowly losing his sense of taste. Martin has one simple rule: be at home for Sunday dinner and attendance is both mandatory and non-negotiable. A rift in the family develops when the sisters develop relationships and an obnoxious woman (Raquel Welch) sets her sights on Martin’s affections.

7. Chocolat (2000)

When mysterious Vianne and her child arrive in a tranquil French town in the winter of 1959, no one could have imagined the impact that she and her spirited daughter would have on the community stubbornly rooted in tradition. Within days, she opens an unusual chocolate shop, across the square from the church. Her ability to perceive her customers’ desires and satisfy them with just the right confection, coaxes the villagers to abandon themselves to temptation — just as Lent begins.

8. Big Night (1996)

Chef Primo (Tony Shalhoub) and businessman Secondo (Stanley Tucci) are immigrant brothers from Italy who open their dream restaurant, Paradise, in New Jersey. However, Primo’s authentic food is too unfamiliar for the local tastes, and the restaurant is struggling. When famous Italian-American bandleader Louis Prima is scheduled to appear at Paradise, the two brothers put all of their efforts into the important meal, which will likely decide the fate of their restaurant.

9. Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

Master Chef Chu (Sihung Lung) is semi-retired and lives at home with his three unmarried daughters, Jia-Jen (Kuei-Mei Yang), a religious chemistry teacher; Jia-Chien (Chien-Lien Wu), an airline executive; and Jia-Ning (Yu-wen Wang), an employee at a fast-food joint. Life at the family’s house revolves heavily around preparing and eating an elaborate dinner every Sunday. The stability of these meals gives them all strength as they deal with new romantic relationships and disappointments.

10. Like Water for Chocolate (1993)

In Mexico, so I have learned, hot chocolate is made with water, not milk. The water is brought to a boil and then the chocolate is spooned into it. A person in a state of sexual excitement is said to be “like water for chocolate.” And now here is a movie where everyone seems at the boil, their lives centering around a woman whose sensual life is carried out in the kitchen, and whose food is so magical it can inspire people to laugh, or cry, or run naked from the house to be scooped up and carried away by a passing revolutionary.

11. The Cook, The Thief, The Wife and Her Lover  – 1989 – one of Helen Mirin’s earliest movies

English gangster Albert Spica has taken over the high-class Le Hollandais Restaurant, run by French chef Richard Boarst. Spica makes nightly appearances at the restaurant with his retinue of thugs. His oafish behavior causes frequent confrontations with the staff and his own customers, whose patronage he loses, but whose money he seems not to miss.

Forced to accompany Spica is his reluctant, well-bred wife, Georgina, who soon catches the eye of a quiet regular at the restaurant, bookshop owner Michael. Under her husband’s nose, Georgina carries on an affair with Michael with the help of the restaurant staff. Ultimately Spica learns of the affair, forcing Georgina to hide out at Michael’s book depository. Boarst sends food to Georgina through his young employee Pup, a boy soprano who sings while working. Spica tortures the boy before finding the bookstore’s location written in a book the boy is carrying. Spica’s men storm Michael’s bookshop while Georgina is visiting the boy in hospital. They torture Michael to death by force-feeding him pages from his books. Georgina discovers his body when she returns.

Overcome with rage and grief, she begs Boarst to cook Michael’s body, and he eventually complies. Together with all the people that Spica wronged throughout the film, Georgina confronts her husband finally at the restaurant and forces him at gunpoint to eat a mouthful of Michael’s cooked body. Spica obeys, gagging. Georgina then shoots him in the head, calling him a cannibal.

12. 9 1/2 Weeks (1986)

Two strangers, Wall Street trader John (Mickey Rourke) and art gallery assistant Elizabeth (Kim Basinger), become involved in a new relationship. What begins as a courtship, though, becomes extremely sexual, as John begins to push for more daring and kinky scenarios, including striptease and bondage. Although their passion is strong, Elizabeth starts to realize that John is not sharing any part of his life besides sex. She must make a decision about what she wants from their relationship.

13. Tampopo (1985)

A pair of truck drivers, the experienced Gorō and a younger sidekick named Gun, stop at a decrepit roadside ramen noodle shop. Outside, Gorō rescues a boy who is being beaten up by three schoolmates. The boy, Tabo, turns out to be the son of Tampopo, the widowed owner of the struggling business, Lai Lai. When a customer called Pisken harasses Tampopo, Gorō invites him and his men to step outside. Gorō puts up a good fight, but outnumbered by Pisken and his men, he is knocked out and wakes up the next morning in Tampopo’s home.

The main narrative is interspersed with stories involving food on several levels. Satirical vignettes involve a lowly worker who upstages his superiors by displaying his vast culinary knowledge while ordering at a gourmet French restaurant; a housewife who rises from her deathbed to cook one last meal for her family; and a women’s etiquette class on how to eat spaghetti properly. Another subplot involves a corner store clerk who has to deal with an older woman obsessed with squeezing food. The clerk’s scene segues into a restaurant involving an investment scam and the intended victim, who turns out to be a conman himself.

The primary subplot involves a young man in a white suit – an elegant gangster – and his lover, who explore erotic ways to use food. In the end, the man is shot several times by an unknown assailant, to his lover’s horror, but uses his last words to convey his secret recipe for sausages.

Throughout, the film puns off stereotypical American movie themes, characters, music and camera set-ups and shots.

14. Last Tango in Paris – The Butter scene (1972)

1972 Italian-French erotic drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci which portrays a recently widowed American who begins an anonymous sexual relationship with a young Parisian woman. It stars Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, and Jean-Pierre Léaud.

The film’s raw portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil led to international controversy and drew various levels of government censorship in different venues. Upon release in the United States, the most graphic scene was cut and the MPAA gave the film an X rating. After revisions were made to the MPAA ratings code, in 1997 the film was re-classified NC-17 for “some explicit sexual content”. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released a censored R-rated cut in 1981.

Do you know any movies I should add to this list? It could benefit more people! Leave a comment below and/ or email me here!

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than 10 years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.

Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

         
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