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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Tortilla Soup
Directed by Maria Ripoll
Columbia TriStar 01/01 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 - sexual content

This delightful Latino-flavored film, directed by María Ripoll with a screenplay by Tom Musca, Ramón Menéndez, and Vera Blasi, was inspired by Ang Lee's 1994 film Eat Drink Man Woman. Martin Naranjo (Hector Elizondo) is a veteran chef whose sense of taste is failing. His three daughters still live at home in Los Angeles with this widower. Each week he offers them a culinary masterpiece cooked with tender loving care.

Some changes are in the air but no one really knows the extent of the possibilities. Martin has plenty of ideas on what will make his daughters happy, but they have their own understandings of what they need. Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors) has a real talent for cooking but has chosen instead to move ahead in the business world. She's just been offered a new job in Barcelona. Leticia (Elizabeth Peña), the oldest daughter, is a repressed soul who is deeply devoted to Jesus and her work as a high school teacher. However, thanks to some pranks by her students, she meets Orlando (Paul Rodriquez), a socially awkward baseball coach. Maribel (Tamara Mello), the youngest, has fallen in love with a Brazilian student (Nikolai Kinski).

While his offspring experiment with these recipes of love, Martin is conducting his own amorous campaign with Yolanda (Constance Marie), a single parent, and her young daughter. Much to his surprise, Yolanda's mother (Raquel Welch) is throwing herself at him.

Tortilla Soup is a pleasant familial drama spiced with lively salsa music, the foods of acclaimed chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, and a keen appreciation for the surprising twists and turns of romantic love.


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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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