Sunday, February 15, 2009
In the movie Big Night, recently-mmigrated Italian brothers struggle to revive their floundering restaurant. The business-end brother falls into a trap set by a competitor and make a “big night” effort for a visiting celebrity, which should revive the place. The party comes off well—the food is exquisite and the guests have fun—but the celebrity doesn’t show, which means the brothers have no money left in their bank account and no shot-in-the arm publicity. They’re angry with each other, knowing they’re finished, but in the end they’re buddies again. Their lives could have gone in several directions--either those who came to the party will spread the word about how good the food is or the business will end. And if the restaurant thrives, they can learn from it, or not, but I prefer to hope they learned that it’s not enough to make good food, you have to have atmosphere. Ebert said it was a movie of “great wisdom and delight,” and that was a surprise I only knew when the movie ended.