I know, I know but just hear me out: inspired by real-life Sarah Winchester, superstitious widowed heiress to the fortune amassed by the founders of the famous rifle company, what this suppositional story lacks in historical accuracy (minor liberties were taken for the sake of capturing it on film) it more than makes up for with pain-staking attention to detail; besides the obvious (a cast of award-winners), remarkable forethought went into every aspect from the titular character’s handcrafted custom wardrobe to the replica of her infamous eccentric mansion. The world created for the movie was so well planned in advance it leaves no room for the plot to stray from the devices (i.e. “rules”) set forth by its premise. Though no awards were be offered, its quality is impeccable. It will be thoroughly entertaining if you can restrain yourself from forcing upon it any aspirations of informative historicity or Slasher genre features.
For once a cooking movie that’s not solely about an underdog (either a chef or a restaurant) pitted against some big bad meanies! When an Indian family moves to France after a series of misfortunes and are pleasantly surprised to learn about property for sale that includes an abandoned restaurant, they open a family-style diner that serves all their favorites from home. Salt-of-the Earth, Papa is a thorn in the side of food snob, Madame Mallory when he opens right across the street from her Michelin-starred fine dining establishment. The two couldn’t be more opposite; they also couldn’t be more passionate about food. Thoughtful consideration about pride in one’s craftsmanship and how food is more than just physically nourishing.
This frolicking romp from grief to healing is based on a true story about the Women’s Institute, who hosts seminars and competitions for techniques baking, knitting, gardening, etc. for the ladies in a small British town. When one of their own loses her husband to cancer, all the flowers and cross stitch in the world can’t beautify the grieving process. A friend and fellow W.I. member takes inspiration from firemen’s fundraising calendars and enlists others to help create a calendar that will raise money towards remodeling the dilapidated waiting room in the hospital’s cancer ward. It takes convincing but by adding a subtle tribute to their friend’s late husband in the form of a sunflower in each month’s photo, the ladies soon revel in the thrill of their confidential subversive project. The shock value that offends some and delights others ends up sending them to America to appear on The Tonight Show to be interviewed by host, Jay Leno.