20th Century Fox presents
Feast Of Love (2007)
"There is a story about the Greek Gods - they were bored so they invented human beings. But they were still bored so they invented love. Then they weren't bored any longer. So they decided to try love for themselves. And finally, they invented laughter. So they could stand it."- Harry Stevenson (Morgan Freeman)
Stars: Morgan Freeman
Other Stars: Greg Kinnear, Alexa Davalos, Radha Mitchell, Selma Blair, Billy Burke, Toby Hemingway, Fred Ward, Missi Pyle, Stana Katic, Erika Marozsán, Jane Alexander, Margo Martindale
Director: Robert Benton
MPAA Rating: R for (strong sexual content, nudity and language)
Run Time: 01h:41m:29s
Release Date: 2008-02-05
DVD ReviewRobert Benton's Feast Of Love (based on the Charles Baxter novel) features an ensemble cast moving in lazy circles around one another, falling in and out of something called love, or perhaps just looking for that special connection.
With a talented director (Kramer Vs. Kramer, Places In The Heart) at the helm, this sexually-bold but overlooked drama uses Morgan Freeman as something akin to the center of the universe, as the all-knowing sun the other characters revolve around in one way or another. And Freeman, using that wonderful speaking voice of his, keenly observes all around him, but naturally cannot see what's right before his eyes.
Greg Kinnear is a clueless coffeshop owner who doesn't notice where wife Selma Blair's eyes are wandering, while the blossoming romance between young lovers Toby Hemingway and Alexa Davalos holds both sweet promise and horrible danger. Radha Mitchell and Billy Burke carry on a sexually-charged affair, as Freeman and wife Jane Alexander slowly lament over a family tragedy. The stories overlap, with Freeman at the center most times, and the screenplay mixes smart, adult dialogueand situations together in such a way as to not be cloying or gratuitous. The act of physical love—in its various forms—is key to the actions of nearly everyone involved.
Benton's cast works the material well, as even traditionally unlikable one-note characters (in other films, that is) as Burke's two-timing David eventually appear very human. I always expect watchable turns from Freeman (yes, even in crap like Dreamcatcher), and he comes through again here, spouting simple and elegant observations. The real surprise is Alexa Davalos, who turns a lovestruck free spirit into the film's sweetest metamorphosis, and who nearly eclipses Freeman as the centerpiece. She may have had to operate under a few branches of the dreaded clich&editor; tree periodically, but her portrayal of Chloe is completely charming.
The title of this one (yes, I know it comes from the original novel) seems a wee bit misleading and just plain awkward, as the "feast" often seems more like a snack for some characters, and not always happy one. Combine that with the abundant sexuality on display, and it's possible that the occasional DVD renter (seeing Greg Kinnear smooching Radha Mitchell under the kindly gaze of Morgan Freeman) may be taken aback. Benton doesn't reinvent the adult drama here, but the multiple storylines connect well, and an actor like Freeman has the innate ability to make just about any line of dialogue mesmerizing.
Feast Of Love touts the multi-faceted role of love as a driving force in why people do what they do, mixing sex, romance, fear, and humor. A nicely crafted adult drama.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review:
Feast Of Love has been released in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Some light grain (perhaps a screener copy issue) is minor quibble, as colors and fleshtones look bright and natural. A bit of edge enhancement in spots, but otherwise a pleasant transfer.
Image Transfer Grade: B
|DS 2.0||French, Spanish||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: The principle audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, offering up a wide, natural soundstage that doesn't initially appear all that encompassing. It's the small, discrete cues that really help this one, balanced by strong movement across the fronts. Dialogue is clean, and Stephen (Hedwig And The Angry Inch) Trask's score is gently resonant, producing occasional and effective .LFE activity.
French and Spanish 2.0 dubs are also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Death A Funeral, 2 Days In Paris
Extras Review: Feast Of Love extras consist of a solitary featurette entitled The Players (12m:07s), in which the "cast share their insights" about their characters, and director Benton talks about the project, intercut with behind-the-scenes clips and nonanamorphic footage from the film.
A pair of trailers are the only other bonus bits, with the disc cut into 28 chapters, available with optional English or Spanish subs.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsA mature, sexually-open drama about an assortment of couplings, anchored by a pair of very engaging performances (Morgan Freeman, Alexa Davalos) and the series of circumstances that bring them all together under the auspices of "love." Perhaps a little cliché in spots (sex on the fifty yard line at night), yet the cast works it well, as director Robert Benton opts for frequent full-frontal nudity to cement the grown-up nature of it all.
Rich Rosell 2008-02-04