Pros:Kinnear, Freeman, funny and touching
The Bottom Line: "Do you think love is a trick or do you think that it's the only meaning there is to this crazy dream?"
"Which do you believe?"
"The second one."
Sometimes a movie comes up in my Netflix queue, and I dont even remember putting it there and couldnt say what compelled me to do so. This was the case with Feast of Love, the 2007 R-rated dramedy featuring a diverse cast of characters finding and losing love in different ways. When I saw that Morgan Freeman was in it, however, I didnt question my choice, and it was his character that truly kept me engaged throughout the movie.
Freeman is Harry Stevenson, a revered college professor having a more difficult time moving on from a crippling tragedy than his wife Esther (Jane Alexander). He frequents the coffee shop run by idealistic Bradley Smith, played very earnestly by Greg Kinnear. Bradley is na´ve and oblivious, tending to see people as he wants them to be rather than as they are, which has a devastating effect on his marriage and subsequent attempts at love. We want him to succeed because hes so lovable, but its easy to see why failure keeps following him around.
One of his employees, sweet but drug-riddled Oscar (Toby Hemingway), has better luck when free-spirited Chloe (Alexa Davalos) waltzes into the shop looking for a job. Theyre young adults who really dont know what theyre doing and dont get any help from their respective parents, one of whom is irresponsible, while the other is downright abusive. Instead, they turn to Harry for advice and solace, and the bond that develops between these two couples separated by half a century is the sweetest element of the movie, particularly the way Harry and Chloe help each other recover from painful losses.
This movie, directed by Robert Benton, earns its R rating with harsh language, drug use, violence and pervasive extramarital sexuality, with nudity used to comic effect in one scene. I could have done with less of that, and it made the movie a bit hard for me to get into, but ultimately I still found the film appealing and redemptive. It aptly demonstrates the importance of clear communication in matters of the heart, and it doesnt restrict its notion of love to romance, either. Freeman grounds the movie in a gentle gravitas, while Kinnear gives the funniest performance of the film and keeps his storyline mostly in the realm of comedy despite and largely because of its pathetic detours.
While I probably would have liked this movie a little better if it had been PG-13, I nonetheless found it a funny and touching film about love in its many forms and its power to shape lives.
Because Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors, this movie is an entry in the Favorite Stars Write-Off.
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