Food on Film: Memorable Movie Moments That Prove Food and Love Are a Winning Pair

Two people eating dinner outside of a romantic restaurant
Wining and dining is the language of love for foodies—and movies. Ranging from sexy to silly to sentimental, these standout silver screen moments are evidence that the best meals (and snacks, and sweets) really are the ones made with love.

Food on Film: Memorable Movie Moments That Prove Food and Love Are a Winning Pair


Wining and dining is the language of love for foodies—and movies. Ranging from sexy to silly to sentimental, these standout silver screen moments are evidence that the best meals (and snacks, and sweets) really are the ones made with love. 


“Moonlight”

In the final act of the 2016 Oscar winner for best picture, a grown-up Chiron pays a visit to Kevin, his childhood friend with whom he had his first sexual experience, at the diner where Kevin works. The two haven’t seen each other in years; their friendship ended with Kevin beating Chiron at the behest of school bullies. The facts of their relationship hang precariously in the background as Kevin retreats to the diner kitchen to prepare a meal for Chiron. As the score builds, Kevin chops cilantro, plates a perfect portion of rice alongside grilled chicken and carefully adds a scoop of beans while stealing a glance at Chiron, who sits in a booth, waiting. Like their reunion, the cooking scene is fraught with yearning, tension and hope. 


“Like Water For Chocolate”

Food is more than just an aphrodisiac in this 1992 Mexican film. It’s the catalyst for all kinds of emotions. Tita is the youngest of three sisters in a family where tradition dictates that the role of caring for their aging mother falls to the last child, barring them from ever marrying. That proves problematic once Tita, the chef of the family, finds herself head-over-heels for Pedro. Everything Tita whips up is steeped in her strong emotions. Like when she makes a wedding cake for the nuptials between Pedro and her sister. The batter is filled with her tears and when the guests eat it, they too are overcome with sadness. Or like when she prepares a quail dinner with rose sauce, using the bouquet of roses Pedro brought her. Her dinner guests find themselves bowled over by lust.


“9 1/2 Weeks”

The “kitchen scene” in this now-classic Kim Basinger-, Mickey Rourke-starring flick has the power to polarize. Longtime fans of the film say its certifiably sexy, albeit in a strange way. Critics deem it entirely cheesy and completely absurd. Perhaps it lies somewhere in the middle. When Elizabeth (Basinger) peeks into the kitchen where John (Rourke) is standing, inspiration strikes and he tells his lover to get on the floor and to close her eyes. Then, he begins feeding her a series of increasingly random food items, moving from maraschino cherries to fusilli pasta to a jalapeño pepper. The entire scene takes place in front of an open fridge, set to ‘60s pop ditty “Bread and Butter.” It’s a  far cry from whipped cream in bed.


“I Am Love”

Luca Guadagnino’s 2009 romantic drama follows a wealthy Milanese family, led in part by matriarch Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton). For all her privilege, Emma feels unfulfilled. Until a perfect lunch of shrimp and ratatouille prepared by her son’s friend Antonio, at Antonio’s restaurant, enlivens her. The rest of the room fades away. She can no longer hear the conversation of her companions. Her face flushes, her eyes close. For Emma, this meal is a turning point, one that drives her into the arms of the man who cooked it.


“Bridget Jones’s Diary”

The dinner party scene in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” proves that the food-love connection is often less about the quality of a meal and more about the sharing of a meal with the object of your affection. In the movie’s case, that meal is a calamitous birthday dinner cooked by the birthday girl herself, Bridget (Renée Zellweger), and the object is Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Mark shows up unexpectedly as Bridget is trying to put the finishing touches on her dinner party. As they await her friends’ arrival, the duo drink wine in Bridget’s cozy apartment, flirting and laughing off her cooking attempts. It’s a heartwarmingly relatable scene for anyone who’s ever cooked with their crush.

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