“What do you call someone who speaks one language? American.” Just one of many witty lines in Maria Ripoll’s Tortilla Soup, a delightful romantic comedy about a man’s love for his daughters and his cooking, life’s ups and downs, and following one’s heart. A retelling of Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman, it unveils family situations that are anything but culture specific.
Hector Elizondo plays Martin, a former chef and widowed father of three girls who only wants the best for his children. So involved in tradition, Martin insists that the girls, who all live with him, are home for Sunday dinner. Ironically, Sunday dinner which is prepared meticulously by Martin in beautiful mouth-watering montages is always interrupted by a family announcement.
With each announcement, we learn more and more about the daughters who are now ready to break away from their father’s protective nature and explore their true callings. Carmen (Jacqueline Oradors, Six Days, Seven Nights) has inherited her father’s knack for cooking, but under his influence has chosen a career in business. She has recently been offered a job in Barcelona and must decide which path to take next. Leticia (Elizabeth Pena), is the oldest daughter whose only devotion is teaching and religion, but has now fallen victim to love. Maribel (Tamara Mello) is a free-spirited teen who constantly tries to catch her father’s and sisters’ attention as well as discover herself.
As all three women attempt to change their current lifestyles, Martin must go beyond his stubborn nature and realize that he too is desperate for change.
Hopefully, Tortilla Soup is a sign that Hollywood is beginning to explore other cultures in a positive light on screen, especially when Hispanics make up a large proportion of the U.S. population.
For those seeking to escape reality for a couple of hours, Tortilla Soup will definitely fill their appetite. Now where’s dessert?