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Feast of Love (2007)
Feast of Love is a 2007 American drama film directed by Robert Benton, starring Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Radha Mitchell, Billy Burke and Selma Blair. The film, based on the 2000 novel The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter, was first released on September 28, 2007, in the United States. The movie deals with love and its various incarnations, set within a community of friends in Portland, Oregon. Harry Stevenson (Morgan Freeman) narrates about how love can affect one's life. Bradley runs a small cafe in Portland. He has been married to his wife Kathryn for some time. However, their marriage becomes strained. Soon enough Kathryn begins a lesbian relationship with a woman, Jenny, she meets playing softball and leaves Bradley. The divorce affects Bradley greatly, but he soon finds love again in Diana, a realtor who also has a past with a married man named David. Though she ends her affair with David to marry Bradley they ultimately declare they are in love with each other and Diana leaves Bradley, again devastating him. Now twice divorced Bradley suffers a mini-breakdown and stabs himself in the hand. As he is getting stitched up in the hospital he falls for his doctor, Margaret.
Bradley (Greg Kinnear) is an affable, eternally optimistic schlimazel who runs Jitters, a tiny coffee shop in an Oregon college town, a guy that burbles out statements like, 'I think love is everything; the only meaning we have to this crazy dream.' Bradley is so likeable and easygoing that he is ripe to be trampled upon by the love beast and he is. Twice. First, his wife Kathryn (Selma Blair) leaves him for another woman. He then falls head over heels in love with cool-drink-of-water real-estate agent Diana (Radha Mitchell), who ends up marrying Bradley, despite her continuing to engage in carnal relations with David (Billy Burke). Bradley relates his stretch of news from the lovelorn to his friend Harry (Morgan Freeman), Harry calmly telling Bradley, 'At least this time it's with a guy.'
Harry, on an extended leave from his position at the local college, is the resident sage, sitting at his table in Jitters, sipping his brew, reading his paper, and dispensing homilies like a Joe in The Time of Your Life -- words of wisdom like 'The end is always right there at the beginning' or 'Sometimes you don't know if you've crossed a line until you're already on the other side and, of course, by then it's too late.' And since Harry is played by Morgan Freeman, Benton offers the by now obligatory Morgan Freeman voice over narration, like Red in The Shawshank Redemption or Eddie in Million Dollar Baby. Clearly, Harry is the soul of this tight-knit community. More than the soul.
For suddenly Oregon is in the land of Fate and the Greek Gods. Harry, with his towering wife (Jane Alexander) seem to know and to predict the future of every mere mortal in town; on a nightly tour they walk past the suburban homes and click their tongues about the spurned, jilted, and rejected folks asleep in their homes. But it is not just Harry and Esther; the town even has its own oracle --a frumpy fortune-teller with Laurel and Hardy dolls who predicts doom and gloom.
Harry not only consoles Bradley but also the beautiful and innocently young waitstaff at Jitters, Oscar (Toby Hemmingway) and Chloe (Alexa Devalos), who, just like Bradley, fall instantly, completely, and unthinkingly in love and are even more doomed that he is.
Robert Benton revels in this mythic roundelay of the magic and mystery (and ultimate extinction) of love, his camera lingering on knowing glances, offhand gestures, and idealized lovemaking, in an attempt to portray the completely illogical abandon that accompanies the head-smacking imbecility of love and desire at first sight. But in concentrating on Harry's wry remarks and passive-aggressive aid, Benton renders this sensual saturnalia as mere background to Harry's distancing eye.
But this where Greg Kinnear comes in. Kinnear's Bradley is the heart of the film. The character could have easily been turned into a joke but with Kinnear in the role Bradley, despite all the tribulations heaped upon him, he becomes the film's tower of strength and its emotional compass. Kinnear's glance conveys a world of love lost and love gained. While Benton laboriously stirs the pot of his New Age emotionalism, Kinnear delivers the goods. When Bradley says, 'I'm the happiest man alive,' you believe it.
The DVD includes a collection of interviews with the cast.
Love? Tastes like chicken.