Vatel (film)

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Vatel (film).jpg
Directed by Roland Joffé
Produced by
Written by
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Robert Fraisse
Edited by Noëlle Boisson
Release dates
  • May 2000 (2000-05) (Cannes)
  • 10 May 2000 (2000-05-10) (Belgium)
Running time
103 minutes
  • France
  • United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $51,080 (US)[1]

Vatel is a 2000 English-language film based on the life of 17th-century French chef François Vatel, directed by Roland Joffé, translated by Tom Stoppard, and starring Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman and Tim Roth. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration. A French-British production,[2] the film opened the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


The film takes place in 1671. In the prelude to the Franco-Dutch War, a financially struggling Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé is visited by King Louis XIV for three days of festivities at the Château de Chantilly.. The prince wants a commission as a general, and spares no expense in order to impress the king. In charge of organizing the event is François Vatel, Master of Festivities and Pleasures in the prince's household. Vatel is a man of great honor and talent, but of low birth. As the great Condé is prepared to do anything in his quest for stature, the tasks assigned to Vatel are often menial and dishonourable. While Vatel tries to sustain dignity amidst the extravaganza he is meant to orchestrate, he finds himself in love with Anne de Montausier, the king's latest lover, who returns his affections. However, due to their incompatible social standing and the rigid hierarchy of the court, continuing the liaison is clearly impossible. The movie ends with Vatel realizing that he is nothing more than a puppet in the hands of his superiors, bought and sold like a piece of property: he consequently commits suicide. Vatel throws himself on his sword because the roast was not sufficient to feed several unexpected guests, the clouds dulled the fireworks display and he lacked confidence that there would be enough fish for the morning meal. Anne de Montausier is grief-stricken upon hearing the news but she must not speak of it. In doing so, she flees the court quietly and no one ever knew about her and Vatel.



Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 31% of 32 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4.6/10. The site's consensus reads: "Visually sumptuous, but unengaging."[4] Metacritic rated it 44/100 based on 13 reviews.[5] David Stratton of Variety wrote, "Vatel, a no-expense-spared costumer, is further proof that all the money and technical expertise in the world are no substitutes for a good screenplay and creative direction."[6] Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times called it "a costume drama with far more costumes than drama".[7] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "a timeless tale of love and sacrifice in a world as opulent as it is cruel."[8]


  1. ^ Box Office Mojo "Vatel"
  2. ^ "Vatel (2000)". Baseline. Retrieved 2015-08-27 – via The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (2000-05-11). "The Cannes Film Festival begins with a lack of drama". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  4. ^ "Vatel". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  5. ^ "Vatel". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  6. ^ Statton, Dennis (2009-05-11). "Review: 'Vatel'". Variety. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  7. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (2000-12-25). "Vatel (2000)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  8. ^ Thomas, Kevin (2000-12-25). "'Vatel' Cooks Lavish Tale Seasoned for King". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 

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