Customer Reviews


57 Reviews
5 star:
 (40)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best gentle film I've ever seen
This is my favourite film. It oozes humanity and love, but not to overflowing: there is no glossing-over of life's injustices and problems. Most importantly, it never loses its sense of humour. In fact the major success of the film is to let us laugh at the characters but not to undermine them. It is delightfully funny to see characters being their usual selves -...
Published on 18 Jan 2003 by Oliver Kroll

versus
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, but not a patch on the Danish language original
I agree with the reviewer from London who laments the fact that this version is dubbed - and doesn't warn the buyer. This is one of my all-time favourite films in the Danish language original with English sub-titles. In English it loses so much of its atmosphere and appeal.
Published on 9 Aug 2001


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

81 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best gentle film I've ever seen, 18 Jan 2003
This review is from: Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
This is my favourite film. It oozes humanity and love, but not to overflowing: there is no glossing-over of life's injustices and problems. Most importantly, it never loses its sense of humour. In fact the major success of the film is to let us laugh at the characters but not to undermine them. It is delightfully funny to see characters being their usual selves - conceited, puritan or over-romantic - but the funniness isn't malicious.
In some ways the least interesting character is Babette herself. Her character is certainly the least developed, and her last scene verges on soupiness - but just keeps to the right side. The general, on the other hand, is marvellously written and acted. His scene with Martine (whom he has loved, but never visited, for many decades) is deeply touching, and just captures the feeling of warmth after a sublime banquet.
The speech that he makes while the 'cailles en sarcophage' are served is the crux of the film: physical pleasure (eating, he means), when the food is good enough, is just like spiritual pleasure, or love. This shocks his puritan fellow diners, who were initially worried about the sin of a gluttonous banquet. But the banquet is art, not gluttony, and they feel the truth of what he says: the schisms and discord in the congregation vanish, and in the last sight we have of the villagers they are in a circle around the village well, under the stars, singing the same hymn they sung with the old pastor earlier in the film.
The cinematography is very good, and the Danish setting is as beautiful as they come. As for the sound, I think this film is much better in the original soundtrack with subtitles: the English dubbing has an unpleasant Disney quality. (The DVD has this feature, as well as notably better picture and sound quality). By the way there is a beautiful song near the end, just after the banquet.
This film's gentle beauty amply makes up for a few rough edges and less successful scenes here and there. 5 stars is the only rating possible.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great film, but not a patch on the Danish language original, 9 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I agree with the reviewer from London who laments the fact that this version is dubbed - and doesn't warn the buyer. This is one of my all-time favourite films in the Danish language original with English sub-titles. In English it loses so much of its atmosphere and appeal.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Can Resist the Evil Power of a French Dinner?, 2 Feb 2008
By 
This is an elegant film which tells a story filled with symbolism and meaning. The cinematography is outstanding. It is a highly focused story where dialogue is minimal but used to maximum effect. It is about committment, family loyalty, devotion to religion, love, charity, and worldly temptations. The film is based on a short book by Isak Dinesen titled "Anecdotes of Destiny". Most interesting is how much of the story and filming occurs within the small village in Denmark. Also, much of the story occurs when the main characters are elderly ...It is great story of faith and giving.

Taking place in the 19th century, Martina and Phillipa are the beautiful daughters of a Lutheran pastor in a fishing village in northern Denmark. Their father started a religious sect which is very austere and pious. It emphasizes the "world to come" and preaches controlling the passions and appetites of this world. The two lovely daughters never attend balls or parties so the young men who wish to make their acquaintance must attend her father's church to eye the two beauties and speak to them. Two young men in particular fall in love with these ladies but it is not within their destinies to fulfull their desires. Officer Lorens Lowenhielm enters the scene when he is sent back by the Army to live in the palace with his wealthy Aunt for a time. He falls in love with Martina when he first sees her while riding on the hillside of the village when she is drawing water from the well. She chooses to live with her father rather than marry this handsome officer. Phillipa's soprano voice is heard by a French visitor to the village, Achilles Papin who performs opera on the stage in Paris. He approachers her father to offer Phillipa private voice lessons. Achilles Papin is convinced Phillipa will "wow" the Parisians where she would become a diva ... Phillipa also declines to pursue this worldy temptation and remains living in the village with her father instead.

As the years pass, the beauty of the two sisters fades but never disappears. They perform works of charity for the poor, carrying on the devoted life to which they became accustomed after their father died. There remains a small flock of true believers who meet on Sundays to worship and recall the teachings of this pious man of the cloth. The two sisters receive a letter from Achilles Papin from Paris, asking the sisters to receive Babette into their home. She is a French lady who survived the French Revolution but lost all her family and possesions. She becomes their maid and servant ... making herself indespensible to their lives. The two sisters are able to carry out more of their charitable works and notice Babette has a way of helping them increase their income and livlihood as well.

Good fortune shines on Babette, after many years of servitude, she won the French lottery, a princely sum of 10,000 francs. On the 100th birthday of their father, Babette offers to cook a dinner for the sisters and the congregation. Despite some misgivings, the sisters agree. Everyone who attends promises not to show any pleasure in what they eat but to act "just as if we never had a sense of taste" for to enjoy would surely be viewed as a sin. They determine not to mention anything about the food when partaking of it.

It is a sensuous delight to watch Babette prepare the various courses ... The camera does a superb job of capturing the parishioner's faces who do their damndest to look sullen and neutral while eating this gourmet feast. There is a special dinner guest from the past ... It so happens he did *not* promise to deny his pleasure in dining on this feast. It is highly amusing to watch the guests respond with remarks about the weather as this special guest describes each succulent and delectable dish. His expressions of appreciation for each French delicacy is priceless. He especially appreciates the superb Spanish wine and champagne, which it is noted none of the parishioners refuse. It is quite funny, watching them imitate the guest as he eats each course. The film has a most impressive ending which symbolizes how Babette essentially became the widow who gave totally and selflessly *all* that she had (as in the Bible story about the widow's mite). Erika Borsos (pepper flower)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


59 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars badly dubbed into American English, 10 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Absolutely disgraceful that this version does not come with a warning that it has been dubbed from its original Danish into American English. The film loses so much because of this.
I would have much prefered a subtitled version and am still looking (in vain) for one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stupidly programmed DVD, 18 Mar 2009
By 
N. Baily (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987]
This refers to the MGM Region 2 DVD.

This edition is presented with the option of the original Danish/French language soundtrack with English subtitles - which is eaxctly how you'd want to watch it. The film is a non-anamorphic presentation, which means if you watch it in normal 4x3 mode, there's a black bar on the top and bottom of the picture. The film originally was shot in a 1.66:1 ratio, which means you ideally want to zoom in a little (to 14:9) so that the image fits lengthways onto a widescreen TV. However if you do that, half of the subtitles are missing!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What would you do if you won the Lottery ?, 28 Feb 2006
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Spend all the winnings on a gourmet dinner for a dozen of ascetic Danish puritans ? No, I didn't think so. But that's exactly what refugee French chef Babette does in this unusual, yet appealing, film about life in a remote Jutland village in the 19th Century. "Babette's Feast" has a strong philosophical theme running through it as the lives of the two saintly spinsters are held up in contrast to some of the more urbane and exciting characters they met in their youth. The film is strong on characterisation and is well acted throughout ,dealing with themes like faith,loyalty, love and duty superbly well. The Feast when it is appears is like a gift of love from God Himself to His faithful flock. A memorable film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About Grace, Glory and Goodness, 9 Jun 2005
This review is from: Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
Some might say "Babette's Feast" symbolically begins when Babette plans to make a meal only princes have enjoyed before.
The story, and its subsequent message of grace and glory, truly begins when Babette is received by two middle-aged women with nothing to offer but their home. Babette has nothing to give that they want, and so the relationship grows from this tiny movement of mutual grace.
Babette, an acclaimed chef, needs to hide for political reasons. She is introduced to sisters Martine and Filippa by way of a letter from a mutual friend. As they hire her with no promise of payment, Babette offers to cook for the sisters who know nothing of Babette's reputation in the kitchen. More than a "Stone Soup" chicanerist, she has the ability to do much with little. Humbly, she lets the sisters teach her to make potato soup. Esculent in every way a potato soup could be, the meal convinces the sisters they have made the right move.
Based on a story by Isak Dinesen (author of "Out of Africa") found in her collection, "Anecdotes of Destiny," it is not a story about the clichéd sensual delights of food, as found in lesser films such as "Chocolat." It is about the grace of being humble, of serving, and of enjoying both the simple and grand things of God. Whether making potato soup or quail in vol-au-vents, Babette always is thankful and diligent to do her best.
When Babette wins the lottery, she decides to make a meal as thanks to the town. She orders delicacies unheard of, and asks the community to help prepare the feast. Skepticism dies down as her neighbors sample morsels, and a new life comes to the village. This is where the comparisons to "Chocolat" begin and end, as Babette's only desire is to lift the spirits of the town she has been so much blessed by.
The long table of near-gluttonous dining is memorable. It far exceeds any American Thanksgiving dinner cornucopia overflow, yet is as thankful. So much of the movie culminates then, and the movie satisfies the deepest hunger for a tasty conclusion.
Finding a layer by which to appreciate "Babette's Feast" is just a matter of watching. For Christians, you will find a subtext of understanding simplicity vs displaying gifts from God. For foodies, you will watch a dream meal presented as Julia Child herself never imagined. For cinematography buffs, you will see a French village shot in intimate detail, so as if you could smell the door frame wood after the rain.
Attend to your senses and sensibilities and order up a copy of "Babette's Feast."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grace, 6 Feb 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
the contrast between the acclaimed life in Paris of this superb chef - Babette - and the simplicity of the life she adopts as a refugee from the French Revolution [another one] as the willing servant of two gentle sisters, is explored through her winning of the French Lottery. She could - it seems to the sisters - return to her former friends and life in Paris; but for Babette the gift she can bring to her community is to cook them the meal for which she was famous.

It is a demonstration of the glories of Grace: nothing is asked, everything is given... freely.

and the theme is drawn out by the decision of the small, primitive-church community not to pass any comment whatsoever on the food or drink. So the entire meal is eaten - with relish - by people who feel it would be wrong to praise, or even to mention, the wonderful feast! Alone, the visiting General - who, we learn, had once eaten at the Paris Restaurant where Babette was Head Chef - recognises the astonishing gifts: wonderful wine, real Turtle soup, an extraordinary menu - and cannot get his fellow-guests to join in his praise.

But the point is that grace is undeserved, unconditional, and given with profound love.

Babette, sitting in her tiny, wood-fired kitchen, sipping REAL coffee at the end of the feast - is a contented woman. every franc of her winnings has been spent. For her, too, it is the perfect gift.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Babette's Feast - a feast in more ways than one, 22 Aug 2005
This review is from: Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
A beautiful film - not an exciting one, but its gentle portrayal of age-old themes (love, greed, jealousy) stays with the viewer long after the initial viewing. I first saw it when it came out in the cinema (20 years?) and seeing it again was a joy. The Danish commentary is given in a beautiful voice and adds to the enjoyment, even if you don't understand a word! The story doesn't really matter - it's not an action movie, but one that makes you think.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Babette's Masterpiece, 5 Nov 2007
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987] (DVD)
Every artist is allowed a masterpiece. Babette's masterpiece is the dinner for twelve that she gives to the sisters who have given her a home.

This film, too, is a masterpiece - see it, and you will never forget it. Its gentle rhythm, its thoughtfulness, its beautiful performances, script, and photography have made it the classic that it deserves to be.

If there is a parallel, it's John Houston's last film, 'The Dead' - a similarly gentle examination of lost or forgotten love, and the things that might have been, but never were ...

As with 'The Dead', the adaptation is so faithful that you can turn the pages of the original as you watch the film - and it's somehow even better for that. There has been no need to 'adapt for the screen': the story speaks for itself in magnificently visual language.

The word 'great' is horribly overused, but this is indeed great movie-making. It's not an epic: there are no battles, no fights, no violence, no hysteria - and the only spectacles are on the elderly cast's noses. There is food, and plenty of it, and there is enjoyment, and warmth, and humanity, and -

If you haven't seen it - don't miss it. (NB - The 25th anniversary reissue is worth every penny.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987]
Babette's Feast [DVD] [1987] by Gabriel Axel (DVD - 2013)
6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews