There are certainly some lovable things about Feast of Love. I love Morgan Freeman. I love the peaceful Oregon setting. I love watching Greg Kinnear do what he does best — play the blithely unaware guy. The movie aims to be a romantic weepie, and there are a few tears and there is some romance. There are good performances and a few sweet, truthful scenes. But all the elements put together make for a narrative that mopes along with a couple lightning bolts of drama trying to jolt us out of our stupor. In the end, it's a pretty unfulfilling "feast."
The story mostly revolves around the lovelorn Bradley (Kinnear) and his terrible luck, Harry's (Freeman) grief over having lost his son, and a young couple dealing with new love, minor money troubles, and an ominous psychic reading. Bradley marries one woman (Selma Blair) only to have her realize she is a lesbian and run off with — who else? — the shortstop on a rival softball team. Then Bradley finds another woman (Radha Mitchell) who can't seem to pull herself away from a man she's had an affair with for a long time. There is no shortage of naked breasts or lovemaking scenes while either the night sky looks on or the pounding rain provides a soundtrack. There's more to this movie than just that, though, so
In the meantime, Harry mostly dispenses a lot of kindly advice and privately continues to grieve for his dead son while shutting out his compassionate wife (Jane Alexander, in a role similar to the one she plays on "Tell Me You Love Me"). For a while I was very concerned that there would be some dumb twist where Harry was actually a figment of everyones' imaginations, but thankfully the story never delves into those tricks. The nicest aspect of the story is the relationship between Chloe (one half of the young couple, played sweetly by Alexa Davalos) and Harry as he becomes a kind of surrogate father to her.
On paper, I'm sure the script seemed really beautiful. And combined with these great actors, how could they go wrong? I'm not sure how they did, but they did. The audience around me was palpably restless and at times even I found myself making a to-do list in my head and checking my watch. I would recommend seeing this film if you a) want to cry and just need an excuse, b) have a ton of patience, and/or c) are feeling sick and need something relatively tame to lull you to sleep. Otherwise, skip it and wait for these great actors to find better projects.
Photos courtesy of MGM