Taking place in 19th century Denmark, Babette's Feast tells the story of two elderly sisters who've sacrificed their lives, romantic possibilities and even some happiness in order to fulfill their father's religious ministry after his death. They live in the remote town, Jutland, where they continue the teaching of this small protestant sect. Years pass and the woman are greeted by a French refugee, Babette, who begs for them to take her in, committing herself to work as their housekeeper and cook. Years go by and Babette's tireless efforts enables the aging congregation to remain together. When Babette experiences unexpected good fortune she implores the sister to let her prepare one last meal, commemorating the 100th anniversary of their father's death. Gabriel Axel's Babette's Feast is a sweet and charming film about grace and more importantly the human condition. The film doesn't judge these deeply religious individuals but it does question whether they've missed out on aspects of life. This leads me to believe that the film is really about the balance of life. As devout Christians, these two woman have devoid themselves of the pleasures of life which make them human, but with the dinner which Babette provides, they are able to experience feeling alive. The meal unifies the individuals, who were constantly bickering among themselves beforehand, serving as a symbolic gesture of love from Babette. Babette's feast is also a moving ode to art. In the final scene of the film we learn Babette has spent all of her winnings on preparing the meal, making her poor once again. The sisters are in disarray to learn of this but Babette merely replies that the feast wasn't simply for the sisters because a great artist is never poor. Babette's Feast is a surprisingly light and charming film that is easy to digest. While the film is tepidly paced it touches on lots of interesting themes though given my personal preferences, I wish it would have at least recognized the darker side of humanity.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.