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Delicious - Review * 04 July 2014

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Directed by Tammy-Riley Smith, produced (and score composed) by Michael Price, and starring Louise Brealey, Nico Rogner, Adrian Scarborough and Sheila Hancock, Delicious has arrived at last on DVD and digital on-demand.

It is perhaps an injustice to term Delicious a 'Romantic Comedy' - yes, there are plentiful laughs, and a form of a romance, but it is distinctly and intentionally unconventional. There is a more serious heart to Delicious, with an aim to make the viewer stop and consider the importance of life's great yet simple pleasures. It is also a film about lost souls, the characters colliding unexpectedly within the streets and small residential spaces of modern London.

As Stella, Louise Brealey carries the greatest emotional heavy lifting of the film, shifting from spikey humour to defensive vulnerability as events unfold.  Stella is bulimic, trapped in a truly dangerous relationship with food and drink, and intentionally averse to forming direct emotional bonds with others - in the most emotional sequence in the film, Louise invests Stella with such an extraordinary moment of damaged self-loathing it becomes uncomfortable to watch.  While not rescued from this lifestyle, she is provoked into a reassessment by the arrival in the flat upstairs of Nico Rogner's Jacques, an aspiring chef arriving from Paris in search of work - at least, that is the reasoning he displays initially. Jacques is an incredibly gifted cook - the numerous close ups of food preparation remain a highlight of the film, and are potentially risky to the contents of your kitchen if viewing on an empty stomach - and he cannot fathom the attitude Stella holds towards food.

What follows then does not maintain the status quo of the aforementioned term 'Romantic Comedy', but rather an enforced, slightly farcical intervention to open Stella's eyes to the wonders of eating exquisite food. As this showpiece sequence occurs, the film maintains the light style of that genre while a darker thematic edge simmers below the surface, with both Brealey and Rogner shifting from anger to burgeoning fondness as events transpire. This is a genuine collision between the two characters, both sharing opposing viewpoints but most importantly gaining a greater understanding of the other. 

Delicious is sparsely yet highly effectively directed by Tammy Riley-Smith, utilising real locations and urban spaces to give everything a veer of realism - London St Pancras International station in particular is given a real workout that showcases the beautiful architecture. And of course, the combination of excellent song choices and Michael Price's beautifully warm, lilting, bubbly score gifts the film a wonderful sonic backdrop.  

Delicious is an entertaining, complex piece of work, straddling genres and themes in a funny, touching, bittersweet, and sometimes challenging manner. That it does this is admirable, for your expectations are constantly changing up to and including the suitably ambiguous finale that highlights that genuine opposites often do actually attract.

And did we say how amazing the food looks?  

Buy Delicious on DVD from Amazon UK and download from iTunes.

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