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Top Customer Reviews
If the plot sounds thin, be assured it's anything but. The story is as rich and satisfying as the feast Babette prepares. We see the delicate romances that develop for each sister and understand their reasons for turning their suitors away. We see the lives the sisters, and their men, have led after making their decision. The feast comes at a time when the sisters are asking themselves questions that they never voice: Did they make the right decision all those years ago? Was it worth it? Reassurance comes in an unexpected and exquisitely romanitc way.
This film is such a wonderful example of what happens when filmmakers are interested in telling a good story and telling it well. It doesn't follow a 'formula' or cater to a demographic and is a perfect example of why independent and foreign films are so much more satisfying than Hollywood movies.
The DVD is, without a doubt, THE format for this movie. The print has been considerably cleaned up and brightened. What a difference with my "old" fuzzy VHS copy! The widescreen format benefits this film tremendously. The sound is crisp and even, with no sudden drops or surges in volume. The DVD offers three language tracks: the original Danish/French, English, and Spanish. I personally recommend that you keep the Danish/French track with English subtitles. It's the only real way to convey the full meaning and emotions of the story. Avoid the English track at all costs: it's unbelievably bland and emotionless (thereby removing any and all subtleties and charm from this superb story) and it's muffled. I did not check out the Spanish track.
Worth much more than "just" 5 stars!
The story is simple. Two pious Danish sisters hire a French maid, Babette, out of a sense of charity. Fourteen years later, Babette wins the lottery. Out of her winnings, she proposes to serve the sisters and their fellow religionists a meal.
The film is simple. And like all things that are truly simple, it is a very, very rich feast.
The film can be enjoyed on many levels, but it is an overtly Christian film; and the feast is the Lord's Supper. Babette's gift to the sisters and their community is the gift of grace. Unasked for, unearned, and of inestimable value.
The sisters were daughters of a stern Protestant who had formed a devout community. When the sisters were young and beautiful, they were each tempted by the chance to have great love and success outside their community. But they remained loyal to their father and their faith. After their father died, they carried on with their faith community. But as the years passed by, bickering and dissension set in.
One rainy day, there is a knock on the door and Babette appears in their doorway. She has a letter of introduction from one of the sister's old love, and they decide to take her in. Babette quietly makes herself indispensable to the sisters and the entire village. One day, she wins the lottery, and the sisters assume that she will now leave them. Before leaving them, however, she insists on serving them a proper French meal.
The meal itself is the center of the film, and during that meal all the threads of the film are richly woven together.Read more ›
I am not referring to the pious sisters and their fellow congregants; I am referring to the arrival, service, and sacrifice of Babette, who can be seen as a Christ-figure. She comes as an exile to a lowly place and spends her life in uncomplaining service to the two sisters. Then she sacrifices everything she has to create a feast which transforms its (undeserving) partakers into people able to leave pettiness behind and "have life more abundantly." And she begrudges none of it.
I am not especially religious, but these things always come to mind when I watch this film. It is a pure delight, with a transforming message.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perhaps one of the greatest films ever made, it's no wonder it won an Academy Award. The characterizations are terrific, and the casting of the older and younger versions of the... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Lorna Collins
Perfect. Truly perfect. Anyone who is interested in a deep message about grace will appreciate this film. Read morePublished 1 month ago by K. Webster
This is a classic foreign film (in Danish and French) that I saw almost 25 years ago. When I recently saw it I enjoyed it even more. A great cast and enjoyable characters.Published 1 month ago by Arnie Perkins
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