Feast of Love – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

When I first saw the preview for this last year, I thought it looked really good. Really. Typically, I’m not a fan of romantic comedies. This one just looked different to me. I’d like to say that it was really good like I originally hoped. But all I can say is…its different all right.

With all the drama going on in this film, it’s fairly easy to sum up: A group of acquaintances deal with varying types of love and loss in Oregon. Roll credits. The problem is that the film tries to take itself way too seriously for its own good.

The various stories of love go something like this:

Morgan Freeman, the biggest reason I wanted to see this, plays Harry Stevenson, a man who’s been married for quite a long time and is dealing with the recent sudden loss of his son. His wife, Esther, is played by Jane Alexander, and gives one of the finer performances of the film. The two of them are having difficulty in their marriage trying to adapt to being alone together again and trying to find ways to deal with their tragedy.

Greg Kinnear plays Bradley, a hapless hopeless romantic coffee shop owner who just can’t seem to find the right woman. His first wife, played by Selma Blair in a way too short appearance, leaves him for another woman. His second wife, played by Radha Mitchell, is just not in love with him. She never has been. She’s in love with the married man she’s been sleeping with for years.

Alexa Davalos (if you were wondering where you’ve seen her before, she was in The Mist and Chronicles of Riddick) plays Chloe, an orphan who has found love in Oscar (Toby Hemingway), one of Bradley’s employees who has just finished up rehab and is trying to free himself from the confines of his abusive father’s house. The two of them move out together and struggle for money, and find new parents in the form of Harry and Esther.

That all sounds well and good, right? Well yes. Maybe it would have gone in a better direction if the film had anywhere to go. The film seemed awkward and poorly paced. There was also an abundance of nude scenes, usually involving Radha Mitchell and her married lover. One scene in particular had full frontal nudity for what seemed like an unnecessarily long time. It seemed out of place and poorly cut. Another personal gripe I had with the film was the placement of the song “Falling Slowly” from Once, played in the background during a sex scene that cuts from Bradley and his second wife having sex and then suddenly changes to the second wife having sex with her married lover. First of all, the song is ill-fitted for the actions taking place on screen. Secondly, I was a bit put-off that they would use the song in a film that came out so soon after the release of Once. It just seemed odd to me and I didn’t like it at all.

The film has good intentions, but instead tries too hard to be a serious dramatic soft-core porn. It flutters and flaps around and doesn’t seem to find its place.

Dolby DTS Surround Sound enhances the film’s soundtrack, and with the exception of “Falling Slowly”, the soundtrack really works in the film.

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio. There was really little to provide a wow factor in the way of video.

The Players: A fairly bare bones DVD release, this was the only extra. It basically went through each character and had the corresponding cast member talk about what they brought to the character.

My expectations for this film were not fully realized, but still Feast of Love isn’t a terrible film by any means. It deals with some very intense emotions and does a fairly good job of conveying what the characters are going through. It just never really accomplishes anything and at the end of the day, Feast of Love is just mediocre.

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MGM presents Feast of Love. Directed by Robert Benton. Starring Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman, Selma Blair, Rhada Mitchell. Written by . Running time: 102 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: February 5, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.

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