Love cooking and love films? We’ve rounded up the best foodie films to watch, perfect for the cosy Christmas season. Whether you want to buy one of these films for the foodies in your life, or spend the chilly winter nights with these on the big screen, read on for the best movies.
If you want something to snack on while watching, try one of our best festive bakes…
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In a nutshell: Produced and directed by Nora Ephron (of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle fame), this comedy-drama follows the story of a hopeful writer Julie Powell (Amy Adams) as she cooks 524 of Julia Child’s (Meryl Streep) recipes in 365 days, and blogs about them along the way.
Why should I watch Julie & Julia? The film is based on a true story, but in true Ephron-style it’s got a tragicomic spin, making you root for the disheartened main character. You’ll be inspired to don an apron and whip up a beef bourguignon, and order a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking – Child’s book that inspired the year-long experiment.
Running time: 123 minutes
In a nutshell: A romantic comedy set in the 1950s about single mother Vianne (Juliette Binoche) and her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol) who move to a small, quaint French village and open a chocolate shop across the street from the local church.
Why should I watch Chocolat? You’ll want to crack open the closest box of chocolates and it’ll get you dreaming of leaving the rat race and starting up a small artisan food business. Plus, the hazy stills of French countryside (it’s filmed in Burgundy and the Dordogne) will inspire your next holiday. Fans of Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp are also in for a treat.
Running time: 121 minutes
In a nutshell: A comedy-drama following unsuccessful writer and wine enthusiast Miles (Paul Giamatti) who takes his engaged friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on a week-long road trip to Santa Barbara wine country.
Why should I watch Sideways? As well as being incredibly funny, Sideways will have you booking trips to Santa Barbara and Napa Valley thanks to the picturesque scenery. While times have changed since, Sideways was significant on its release for showing women as wine experts (something of a rarity in the early noughties).
Running time: 127 minutes
In a nutshell: A surreal Japanese comedy about the quest for a perfect bowl of ramen.
Why should I watch Tampopo? The main plotline of a café owner’s journey to create a world-class bowl of noodles is interlaced with quirky stand-alone stories exploring the importance of food in Japanese culture. Tampopo will make you laugh, educate you and leave you hungry!
Running time: 115 minutes
In a nutshell: A comedy-drama written and directed by Jon Favreau who stars as a chef, who, after falling out with a prestigious Los Angeles food critic, leaves his job at a restaurant to restore a disused taco truck and take it on the road.
Why should I watch Chef? If the impressive cast (Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey Jr) doesn’t tempt you, the soundtrack will. From Pete Rodriguez’s I Like It Like That to Hot 8 Brass Band’s funky version of Sexual Healing, the tunes will be on repeat in your kitchen. Make sure you’ve got a Cuban sandwich to hand while watching, as the action shots of sarnies being flipped and fried will make you peckish.
Running time: 114 minutes
In a nutshell: A biographical drama that portrays the story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) creating the McDonald’s fast-food chain in mid-1950s America.
Why should I watch The Founder? You’ll have a new-found respect for fast food, and what it takes to get it right, as well as understanding how McDonald’s went from an independent California walk-up restaurant to worldwide food franchise.
Running time: 115 minutes
In a nutshell: A family-friendly, computer-animated comedy that follows Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), an ambitious rat with a passion for cooking who moves to Paris to chase his dream.
Why should I watch Ratatouille? Any fear of rodents will disappear thanks to the loveable main character, and while it’s light-hearted, easy watching, beneath the humour it’s got a motivational ‘work hard to achieve your goals’ message.
Running time: 111 minutes
In a nutshell: A documentary following Jacquy Pfeiffer, a pastry chef competing against 15 of France’s greatest for the highest honour of the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France).
Why should I watch Kings of Pastry? Watch Kings of Pastry if you want to understand just what it takes to create the finest spun-sugar desserts. It shows the passion the chefs have and the trials they go through to become the best in their field.
Running time: 84 minutes
In a nutshell: A comedy-drama series about two men, Steve (Steve Coogan) and Rob (Rob Brydon) who eat six meals in six different places on a road trip across Italy.
Why should I watch The Trip to Italy? The Trip to Italy will have you craving bowls of spaghetti, fresh calamari and a glass of vino rosso, but the scenery is stunning too. Travelling through Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and ending in Capri, you can expect shots of glistening seas, rolling hills and rustic towns. It’s easy watching with plenty of British humour sprinkled throughout.
Running time: 115 minutes
In a nutshell: A documentary about 85-year-old Jiro Ono, the world’s greatest sushi chef, and the struggle of his son Yoshikazu who’s trying to live up to his father’s legacy.
Why should I watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi? Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi and you’ll be humbled by what it takes to run a world-renowned restaurant. It’ll also make you think twice before you snaffle your next piece of sushi, when you realise just what this traditional art form involves.
Running time: 81 minutes