Feast of Love ** (out of ****)

Director: Robert Benton
Writer: Allison Burnett (screen play) based on a novel by Charles Baxter
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Jane Alexander, Greg Kennear, Selma Blair, Radha Mitchell, Fred Ward, Billy Burke, Erika Marsozsan
Rating: R (sexual content, nudity, and language)
Running Time: 102 min
Release Date: 9/28/2007

Harry (Morgan Freeman) is a college professor on a leave of absence who spends a lot of time in a coffee shop owned by Bradley (Greg Kennear). He seems sees to have a great degree of insight into the motivations of the people he meets. Perhaps this comes from playing God so much! Bradley’s coffee shop is central to a series of intersecting vignettes that comprise the film.

One day after a woman’s softball game Harry, Bradley, and Bradley’s wife Kathryn (Selma Blair) are at a table in a restaurant and Bradley, seeing a very attractive blonde who tagged his wife in game, invites her to join them. Bradley is focused on his conversation with Harry. The blonde is focused on putting the moves on Kathryn. Harry noticed as he explains later to his wife that he watched “two women falling in love” and that Bradley was totally oblivious to the event. Soon Kathryn is having an affair with this woman and moves out on Bradley leaving him completely heartbroken. It is interesting how the scenes of Kathryn seduction could just have easily involved another man instead. This movie apparently doesn’t buy into the gay agenda’s view of an inherent sexual orientation. It didn’t seem that Kathryn was looking for another woman but was just open to someone other then Bradley.

Two other relationships actually start in the coffee shop. The first is between Oscar (Toby Hemingway) who works for Bradley and Chloe (Alexa Davalos), a girl who comes in one day looking for a job. The other is between Bradley and Diana (Radha Mitchell) a real estate agent who gets caught there on a rainy day. Bradley doesn’t know that Diana is having an affair with a married man. He asks her out and soon they are on there way to marriage. But we sense this relationship is doomed given that Diana is still involved with her other man until she informs him that she has accepted Bradley’s proposal. Diana raises an ominus thought that perhaps love is just nature’s way of causing people to make babies.

The film opens with Harry discussing the Greek gods and we might well be in a Greek tragedy as these relationships all seemed doomed. Can we count on Hollywood to give us at least one that works out to give us hope? There is a lot of nudity and as they say tastefully handled sexual scenes so be forewarned. And, it does have Morgan Freeman.

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