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Inspired by Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman," this is the story of three grown sisters trying to cope with -- and live with -- their father (Elizondo), who has one simple rule: be home for Sunday dinner! Carmen (Obradors), the middle sister, is a beautiful and successful executive who has just been offered a dream job in Barcelona. Does she tale the job -- which offers big bucks and ensures her fathers happiness -- or follow her heart into the kitchen to cook the seductive and rebellious tortillas, tomatillos, and chiles that she loves? Maribel (Mello), the baby of the family, is off for college in the fall. But plans change when the bohemian free spirit Andy (Kinsi) enters her life. Who needs college when you can travel the world? The eldest, Leticia (Peña), is a prim and proper schoolteacher who lives a life of quiet devotion to her father, her pupils and the Lord until she starts receiving mysterious love letters. Add Hortensia (Welch) to the pot -- a flamboyant and flirtatious grand
The tantalizing genre of food films--stretching from Babette's Feast to Big Night and beyond--has a delicious new addition, Tortilla Soup. The food-preparation scenes will make your mouth water. Fortunately, the rest of the movie holds up as well. Hector Elizondo plays Martin, a widowed chef who is losing both his sense of taste and control over his three daughters: Leticia (the always superb Elizabeth Peña), a religious schoolteacher; Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors), a successful but unhappy businesswoman still carrying on an affair with her ex-boyfriend; and Maribel (Tamara Mello), a rebellious teen falling in love with a young Brazilian. When a pushy, nosy, but very sexy widow named Hortensia (Raquel Welch) comes along, the troublesome subcurrents in the family start to surface. Elizondo's understated gravitas anchors the story, while the three sisters have sex, eat amazing-looking food, and break plates in the kitchen. --Bret Fetzer
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