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feast-of-love.jpgDirector: Robert Benton,

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Selma Blair, Stana Katic, Alexa Davalos, Toby Hemingway, Fred Ward, Billy Burke, Missi Pyle

Feast of Love is a slice of life relationship drama by the director of Kramer vs. Kramer, Robert Benton. The story trots out all kinds of tired cliches, gets far-fetched, and is often grim, as it opens up subplots that aren’t developed, but the dialog is natural, and convincing, and is helped along by a talented cast. There are a lot of characters, however, and cutting back would have allowed deeper focus, and more emotional investment by the audience, giving impact to the story. If we barely know the character, why do we care? Still, Benton handles the many characters well, never lets things get confusing, and does create an engrossing, if forgettable drama, that could have used some lighter moments to offset the dark ones.

Morgan Freeman is Harry, a happily married, perceptive professor with his own pain, who narrates this drama, as he bemusedly watches love, and life, play out its little game in several relationships from his seat at a Portland coffee shop. Owner, Bradley (Greg Kinnear), sees his marriage crash in the tangled wreckage of a lesbian affair, before finding someone new, who has secrets of her own. His employee, Oscar (Toby Hemingway), finds love with Chloe (Alexa Davalos), while his drunken father interferes.

Fans of mellow-dramatic relationship pictures will find a large slice of life, and plenty of pathos in this Feast of Love. This multi-storied, romantic formula has been used so many times, it always feels like you have seen the films before. I don’t mind these kinds of films, but they are best, when they are more focused, and lightened up by some humor, or amusing characters. You have seen this one before. Many were better, and many were worse, but you already know if you are going to enjoy it, when you press play.

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