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A feast of foodie films

Sit back and digest the holidays with these favorite culinary flicks.

By Staff Writer / December 25, 2011

Novel Eats

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Food plays an important role in bringing family and loved ones together over the holidays. So why not enjoy family togetherness with entertainment starring your favorite Pixar rat or eccentric cook? The reviews on the following list have largely been pulled from Monitor archives.

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Kendra Nordin

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Big Night (1996)

Make sure you have plenty of snacks before sitting down to this delicious tale, set in the 1950s, about two Italian brothers who stake their restaurant's future on a visit from Louis Prima. This feast for the eyes is sure to whet even the most jaded gourmet's appetite.

Chocolat (2000)

A peaceful French village gets more excitement than it bargained for when a feisty newcomer sets up a shop devoted to chocolate, and a local curmudgeon decides to combat her at any cost.

Babette's Feast (1987) 

A chef leaves Paris for an isolated village on the Danish coast, where she finds herself living in a community that's dominated by members of an austere religious sect. After living among them for many years, she decides to show her affection by preparing a special meal, which her friends find tempting but all too worldly.

Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

Be prepared for your mouth to water as the camera pans the family feasts of Mr. Chu, a retired chef who has lost his sense of taste, who hopes sumptuous food will hold his family of three grown daughters together. But each daughter has a juicy romance simmering, making life less than rosy in the Taipei household.

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

A discontented wife pays regular visits to a feisty old woman, who tells her stories of friendship, family conflict, and murder that transpired years ago in the Alabama town where she grew up.

Julie and Julia (2009)

Julie Powell, who works a boring, stressful job for an organization involved in rebuilding the World Trade Center has brainstorm. In her off hours she will cook all 524 of the recipes in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child in 365 days, and blog about her experiences. A blog pioneer, she turns her writings into a book, "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously." The film (which mentions the Monitor) intercuts the lives of these two cooks.

Kitchen Stories (2003)

A marvelously wry comedy about the odd relationship between a crusty Norwegian man and a snoopy Swedish researcher who's assigned to sit in his kitchen and chart his movements there. Acted and directed with a savvy understatement that perfectly matches the eccentric story. (In Norwegian and Swedish with English subtitles.)

Like Water for Chocolate (1992)

The unmarried youngest daughter of a Mexican family pours her unrequited love and longings into the food she cooks.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

Toula Portokalos is 30, Greek, and works in her family's restaurant, Dancing Zorba's, in Chicago. She falls in love with a non-Greek man – much to the horror of her parents, who proudly display ancient Greek statues on their lawn and rattle off the Greek origin of words like "kimono." A feast of fun and wacky family relationships that will leave you craving moussaka.

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