Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tortilla Soup (2001) [PG-13] ****



From the opening title you know this is going to be a sensual film... it's all about Mexican cuisine... the colors, smells, tastes, textures, and the sounds of food preparation. All of our senses are engaged and stimulated, and our mouths begin to water even before the first scene. Letitia, Carmen and Maribel Naranjo are three unmarried daughters living with their widowed father Martin (Hector Elizondo), who's part owner of a restaurant in Los Angeles. Martin never remarried and all he has left is his cooking, but now he's losing his sense of taste and smell.

His three daughters have their own daily lives but they all get together for Sunday dinner... it's a family tradition. Letitia (Elizabeth Pena) the oldest, is a high school chemistry teacher and a fervent, tightly-wound Christian. Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors) is a smart, beautiful, high-powered businesswoman, with a healthy sex life, who likes to cook; she creates Mexican dishes her boyfriend calls Nuevo Latino. And Maribel (Tamara Mello), the youngest, is an innocent ingenue who works in a music store and is a bit obsessive compulsive. Add to the mixture Yolanda (Constance Marie), a lovely neighbor who's a divorcee and a single parent, whom Martin finds very attractive, Hortensia (Raquel Welch) her meddling, husband-hunting mother who cannot resist dispensing irritating advice, several of Letitia's high school students who play matchmaker for Letitia and the baseball coach, and a handsome Brazilian boy whom Maribel falls for, and you have all the ingredients for passion, romance and drama.

The screenplay is charming and the soundtrack is incredible. Hector Elizondo is terrific as Martin, the widower who holds the family together and prepares the delicious, mouth-watering Mexican cuisine. If you like warm, family-oriented, character-driven romantic comedy dramas, films like Fools Rush In, and you enjoy Mexican food, you will love Tortilla Soup. 

Labels: comedy, drama, food, romance     
Internet Movie Database     
Metacritic 58/100     
Tomatometer (critics=74, viewers=70)
Blu-ray

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