Married couple Maggie (Katrine Greis-Rosenthal) and Carsten (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) have two young children. Life for Maggie and Carsten is hectic as they both run a high-end gourmet restaurant called Malus. From the moment the two first meet, the audience will gain a strong understanding of the beautiful chemistry they share, as well as their common dreams and long-term desires.
In the present day, Malus Restaurant is missing one thing- a Michelin Star. Achieving a Michelin Star for the restaurant is Maggie and Carsten’s most significant goal and life dream. They have invested everything into the restaurant, and now the Michelin Star is at risk due to an error from one of the staff members under Carsten’s watch. Naturally, this puts extreme amounts of pressure and stress on both Maggie and Carsten as everything they have ever dreamed of could vanish instantly. On top of that, a mysterious letter is sent to Carsten, claiming his wife is in love with another. Carsten is now curious as to whether this letter carries any truth, who Maggie’s secret lover is and who sent the letter.
A Taste of Hunger is best described as a romantic drama film with a minor mystery aspect. Naturally, those who love movies about food and cooking will also find many elements pleasing. At its core, this film focuses on the critical relationship of both Maggie and Carsten as we witness their journey of love for each other right from the start, the pressures of attempting to achieve their dream goals and the various roadblocks that could cost them everything financially. Throughout the film, we see that their specific choices put their marriage and family at risk. The added mystery element of the letter is also a lovely ingredient that keeps the viewers guessing. The outcome of who wrote the letter is highly pleasing, and I found it unpredictable.
The performances from Katrine Greis-Rosenthal and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are excellent. As a couple, their love for each other on-screen feels convincing, and each of the hurdles the two encounter are dramatic and heartfelt. Viewers cannot help but feel some form of compassion for the couple, even if poor choices are made. Many areas of their life have stressful ingredients, leading to unexpected outcomes. Both leading characters juggle many roles, whether working as skilled chefs, dealing with married life, or trying to be good parents. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, in particular, portrays his character’s passion for food exceptionally well.
While I adore the on-screen relationship, witnessing the dramatic moments and the central mystery unfold, one area of the film that let it down was its pacing, particularly in the second act. With so much to praise, I was disappointed to find times when there was too much focus and time spent on various situations and themes, dragging the film before serving its third act and memorable finale. For the most part, I found this film to be engaging, exciting, and visually stunning, with a strong filming style that was also clear and sharp. The plot keeps viewers glued to the screen, and the investment level is extreme.
Overall, serving a solid and highly entertaining three-course meal, A Taste of Hunger is a powerful story that focuses on the many themes of romance, marriage, parenthood, and pursuing your ultimate dreams. This film exceeded my expectations, and I found it quite compelling in its story and even mysterious in certain areas. Visually pleasing and loaded with solid and convincing performances from both Katrine Greis-Rosenthal and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, there is nothing overly disappointing about what’s being served here apart from the film’s second act which I found slowed everything right down, lingering on some themes and areas of the plot for far longer than I prefer. Nevertheless, I’m glad I dined with this feature. As the credits rolled, I was left feeling full and content with the gratifying experience. A Taste of Hunger (2021) is Now Available in Australian Cinemas!