“Delicious”: gourmet film

In the middle of the film Delicious, an apprentice suggests that the cook leave pies and cheeses in plain view of the customers, that this will whet their appetite. The cinephile can only nod, since he himself will have salivated from the opening sequence showing, in minute detail, the making of a turnover stuffed with potato and truffle. Fact, Delicious, by Éric Besnard, does not limit himself to talking about fine cuisine: he shows the alluring ones underneath. It is a film in the tradition of Babette’s Feast, with a more marked concern for frank entertainment.

There is in this case a very valid reason for this, since one of the major themes addressed is the democratization of gastronomy. We are witnessing, neither more nor less, the creation of the first restaurant in France, towards the end of the VIIIe century. The cooks then worked for the nobles, and their culinary prowess served to promote their masters. In inns and post offices, the food offered is used to feed, period.

It is in this second place that Pierre Manceron (Grégory Gadebois, ideal) ends up after one of his creations had embarrassed his employer. This prologue, where we witness the reach to the skies then the descent in flames of the brilliant cook, earnedDelicious to be compared unfavorably to Ridicule in some French reviews. However, where Patrice Leconte’s film puts real witticisms in the mouths of its nobles, that of Eric Besnard makes them say bad or banally saucy witticisms in order to exacerbate the stupidity of this ruling class. In short, a similar design, but a different approach.

However, Delicious quickly moved to what would become Pierre’s establishment. Louise soon joined him there (Isabelle Carré, wonderful as always), a woman who wanted to learn the art of cooking despite the fact that it was reserved for men. And there is old Jacob, who supplies the game, and Benjamin, Pierre’s son, who tries to interest his father in modern, even revolutionary, ideas from Paris …

Classic but effective

We will understand, Delicious takes place at the dawn of the French Revolution, the hitherto unparalleled commerce of Pierre, as well as all those who live and pass there, becoming a microcosm of the events of the time. It is not subtle, but it is effective.

Besnard’s staging is from the same school, with his series of paintings in very structured “Rembranesque” light, but undeniably pleasing to the eye.

Ditto for the plot itself, which aligns the expected developments, but which is carried out smoothly and which also spares two revelations. Having the advantage of being both astonishing and plausible, these last ones renew interest at the end of the first act, then at the beginning of the third, respectively.

Ultimately, Delicious has the effect of a classic dish that we love as such, but that we take all the more pleasure to taste when the chef has been able to add just the right amount of seasoning to pleasantly surprise.


★★★ 1/2

Éric Besnard’s historical drama. With Grégory Gadebois, Isabelle Carré, Christian Bouillette, Lorenzo Lefebvre, Guillaume de Tonquédec, Benjamin Lavernhe. France, 2021, 110 minutes. Indoors.

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