Eat Drink Man Woman Blu-ray Review
Director Ang Lee knows how to explore complicated relationships. He has done that throughout his career. He’s won two Best Director Oscars for his work on “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”. His early films tended to concentrate on the generational gap in families and how people handled old and new traditions alike. His third film EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN was a real crowd pleaser and got him the attention of Hollywood. It really is a simple film that explores the interaction between a father, his three daughters and their loves and friendships. It is a delightful movie full of warmth and life.
Mr. Chu (Sihung Lung) is a renowned chef in Taipei, Taiwan. He’s a widower whose wife died 18 years ago. He has thrown himself into his work to cover up his grief. There’s a great early scene where he is in complete charge as he navigates a big important banquet for government officials. It is a symphony of food and cooking.
Mr. Chu is strict with his three daughters. He expects them to always be at his Sunday dinner. Mr. Chu prepares this feast with great care and preparation. The three daughters live with him and can’t really escape this tradition. Chu Jia-Jen (Kuei-Mei Yang) is the oldest. She’s a school teacher who hasn’t dated since she got her heart broken in college. She is a bit sullen and not happy with her plight in life. She is just going through the motions. Her class is bored by her lectures and she gets teased mercifully by others for her not being married yet.
Chu Jia-Chen (Chien Lien-Wu) is the middle child. She is an airline executive, but her real passion is cooking. She was pushed away by her father from this field after her mother died and she never really got over it. She would be considered the daughter who has it all together. She has a good job and she’s attractive. Her life though is anything but put together. She still has relations with her ex-boyfriend. It is an arrangement that suits both of them for the time being.
The youngest daughter is Chu Jia-Ning (Yu-Wen Wang). She’s a college student who also works in a fast food restaurant. She is inexperienced in life, but is thirsting for knowledge. Lee expertly navigates through the lives of these four main characters as they move through sometimes messy romantic entanglements. Chu Jia-Jen doesn’t think love will ever find her way. She though gets the attention of a volleyball teacher. She also gets love letters from a mystery writer. This upsets her to no end as she tries to figure out who is doing this.
Chu Jia-Ning starts up a romance with her co-worker’s ex-boyfriend. It begins as a friendship as they talk about how the co-worker is mistreating him. She is intrigued by his hobbies. It develops quite naturally. Chu Jia-Chen may be in the messiest situation of them all. She has the flings with her ex-boyfriend and then she gets attracted to a new colleague. This new colleague may or may not be the ex-boyfriend of her older sister. It is one wild situation that has big ramifications.
Mr. Chu has some surprises himself up his sleeves near the end. I actually congratulated myself for knowing what was going to happen, but it was still a joy in how it all played out. EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN earned its Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Picture. It will leave you with a good feeling and maybe even teach you a bit about life.
Video: Taiwan looked radiant on the screen. The bright color shone through.
Audio: The sound was fine.
There was no extras to speak of which was quite disappointing.