I came across Eat Drink Man Woman (Taiwanese: 飲食男女 yǐn shí nán nǚ) while looking for foreign language romantic films and I decided to watch it because of its director, Ang Lee. This is one of the first films of him and I was really interested in seeing something from him before he went American (Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pie and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is what I mean by that).
The film follows Chu (Sihung Lung), a famous chef, and his three daughters, Jen (Kuei-Mei Yang), Chien (Chien-Lien Wu) and Jia (Yu-Wen Wang). Though each is adult and has her own job, they still all live with their father who still feels responsible for them. They, in return, feel responsible for their father and they see their obligation towards him as an obstacle in their career and romantic relationships.
As you can tell from that, the plot is very little and if it wasn't for the romantic subplots basically nothing would happen in between the beginning and the end. In spite of that, the film is very interesting and engaging thanks to the many surprising turns and twists the story takes.
Ang Lee's film is all about family. It's a wonderful portrait of a family that is torn apart by their differences and the modern world they found themselves living in. It also explores relationships. The relationship between a father and his three daughters, the first is having a really hard time relating to them, the latter making it no easier for him; the relationship between three sisters who, in spite of their differences, love each other and wish the best for the others; the relationships between man and Woman, some purely sexual, some warm and romantic.
|The Samuel Goldwyn Company|
Eat Drink Man Woman also beautifully explores its characters and their feelings and inner struggles. Each Character has his/her own distinctive personality. They all are three-dimensional characters and are brought to life with great performances, each actor being able to deliver the character's growth very well, especially Sihung Lung who gives such a heartfelt performance as the family patriarch.
Then there's food, the most important characters. Ang Lee's characters communicate with food, they show how much they love with food. The dinner table is where the exciting stuff happens, when they share their lives with the others. Also, food plays an important role in showing the transition from a traditional society to a modern world (and it'll make you crave for Chinese food).
At last, Eat Drink Man Woman also has a very beautiful cinematography and wonderful Tapei sceneries.