Visio Divina – Movie (Netflix): Babette’s Feast

June 2021 – Movie Review by Peter Malone msc

We should never refuse an invitation to attend Babette’s Feast. A wonderful experience. This time the invitation comes from Netflix. Set in a 19th century Jutland village (and winner of Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, 1988), in a close community Protestant parish, now bequeathed by the pastor to his two unmarried daughters, disappointed in love. They have welcomed a refugee chef from Paris, Babette. When Babette wins the lottery, she immediately and spontaneously pays for a lavish feast, best quality food and wine shopping, relishing cooking former dishes. The community is ageing (rivalries and bickering). Their Puritanical spirituality suggests they attend but eat without enjoying. But, they succumb, wine rejoicing the heart, Babette happy, admission of hurt, forgiveness and reconciliation, everyone moving out into the square, joining hands, a dance of life. No doubt that this is a Eucharistic film, Eucharist as a divine banquet, union through generous self-giving.  See the trailer here.