This underrated film starring Gerard Depardieu, Uma Thurman and Tim Roth was, in my opinion, very good. Everything was as visually intoxicating – with immense use of ornament, colour and some exquisite props and settings.
The story centres around Vatel, an extraordinary chef/butler/master of revels who conjures up feasts for the arrival of King Louis XIV (played by Julian Sands). The real François Vatel worked for the ill-fated Minister of Finance Nicolas Fouquet and the Prince de Condé (who features largely in this film).
Uma gave an excellent performance as the fictional Anne, a lady-in-waiting to Louis XIV’s queen. Anne is too intelligent and caring to be part of the ruthless court intrigues that women such as Madame de Montespan is so adept at playing. The film shows the hard work, devotion and love that has to go into work in order for it to be the best.
The two leads actors pull off a surprisingly credible bond as two people who are trapped in a system that uses them. The ending I found bitter-sweet as only one person can break free. I really recommend this film.