Luminously realistic and profoundly intricate, Dinesen’s stories all celebrate physicality as something deeply spiritual. “Babette’s Feast” does so in excelsis. In style it is stark but shining; in plot it is unpretentious—indeed nothing more than one long anecdote—but also a complex interweaving of characters and years. A simple story about a dinner, it is also an expansive story about the interplay of art, time, destiny, failure, and gratitude. What is more, it is a tiny masterpiece of grace.
Leta Sundet writes of the powerful grace in Isak Dinesen’s short story “Babette’s Feast.”
Jeffrey Overstreet talks about food in film in light of the recent movie, Julie & Julia.
In Mostly Martha, the main character runs her restaurant kitchen as if she were a general at war, with no room for mistakes. But when she ends up caring for her orphaned niece, and makes room in her life for a chef with unconventional ideas, their days — and meals — together help her discover a richer way to live. (Watch the original. Avoid the cheap American imitation — No Reservations.)
. . .
For this moviegoer, there is no cinematic meal more beautiful and profound than Gabriel Axel’s movie Babette’s Feast. . . . Babette is quietly fighting the Gnostic lie that the spiritual life is separate from physical experience. She is revealing the glory of God to them through food. She shows them that food, like all of God’s great gifts, is meant to be celebrated and shared with vigor, reverence, and gratitude. It might even have the power to make friends out of enemies.
Book Reviews, Creative Culture