Last Updated: March 20th
Settling into a classic food-centric movie is just like tucking into a plate of comfort food itself. It’s warming, filling, and joy-inducing all at once. Better still, the visual version typically lasts for a full two hours. And with entire cities and even countries going under quarantine, Who doesn’t crave two hours of comfort food in movie form?
Luckily, Netflix has a decent selection of food movies to deliver that little bit of warming comfort you crave. The ten movies below indulge in food as a central component. We’re talking food porn aplenty — sure to get you into the kitchen once the credits roll.
If you’re inspired, do take the chance to make some of the dishes you see in your downtime in the coming weeks. Now is the time to hone your skills in private. Hopefully, before too long you’ll get to share your newfound expertise with someone else.
Julie & Julia (1992)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7/10
Julia Child is deep in the American home-cooking psyche. The funny, charismatic, often eccentric TV chef made her mark in the culinary world by bringing French cuisine to American shores via television and cookbooks. This film follows the true-life story of a young food blogger struggling to find her voice and decides to parse Child’s seminal Mastering the Art of French Cooking by cooking all 524 recipes and giving her review of each. Meryl Streep’s transformation into Child is profound and Amy Adams brings it as the earnest and inquisitive food blogger on a quest. It’s really hard not to love this movie … especially if you’re a foodie or Francophile.
Run Time: 120 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
This was Bong Joon-Ho’s last film before Parasite. Okja follows a young girl (Ahn Seo-hyun) as she rescues the titular Okja, a “super pig,” in a movie that threads the needle between thriller, serious political polemic, and the enduring story of “kid and her animal buddy” that we all know and love. It’s sometimes an odd mix with storybook touches like Tilda Swinton playing twins (again). The story-telling and photography are a blend of odd and adventurous, making for a superb food movie.
Maacher Jhol (2017)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
A distinguished chef (Ritwick Chakraborty) goes home to West Bengal and finds himself faced with what should be child’s play: Make a great bowl of fish curry, which is one of West Bengal’s signature dishes. That mission turns into an odyssey exploring how food travels and how we make food as a deeply personal thing that’ll connect with anybody who makes a dish to feel like they’re home again.
Melvin Goes To Dinner (2003)
Run Time: 83 min | IMDb: 6.2/10
Bob Odenkirk (the one and only Saul Goodman) helmed this film as an exercise in cringe comedy mashed up with beats from My Dinner With Andre. The story was adapted from Michael Blieden’s stage play and finds the awkward Melvin going out with an old friend and two strangers. It goes hilariously poorly, and while you’re enjoying that, keep an eye out for everyone from a pre-Office Jenna Fischer to Fred Armisen.
Mr. Church (2016)
Run Time: 104 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Eddie Murphy stars in the dramedy about a home cook who forms a heartwarming bond with the family he works for. Murphy plays Henry Church who’s hired by a young girl and her ailing mother to cook their meals for a short time while the mother battles a serious illness. Mr. Church becomes a father figure of sorts, teaching the girl all he knows about cooking and the kitchen, whipping up love and comfort as the family faces terrible tragedy, and that’s just the first half of the movie. It’s a lovely look at how food can influence relationships and change lives for the better. Just keep the box of tissues handy for this one.
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 7/10
Ali Wong and Randall Park star this already-beloved rom-com from Netflix. The plot follows two childhood sweethearts who’ve spent the last 15 years apart. When Wong’s ambitious celebrity chef character moves back to San Francisco, the two reunite. Both have some growing up to do, but the film eschews classic rom-com tropes for bits that are funnier and more poignant than your average lighthearted fare. Plus, there’s plenty of delicious Korean cuisine to drool over. The best foodie bit though comes when Keanu Reeves pops up to give us a truly out-of-this-world performance set in a high-end restaurant where patrons have sensory experiences with their food.
This Is Not What I Expected (2017)
Run Time: 106 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
This Chinese romantic comedy follows a wealthy CEO and the young chef who mesmerizes him with her culinary talent. Lu Jin meets the rebellious chef named Gu Sheng Nan who impresses Lu Jin with her uncompromising cooking. They begin spending time together while eating the food she creates. The two form a complicated bond, keeping each other company as they jump off into their respective deep ends. The food becomes the vehicle through which they both confront the disasters their lives have become and the path forward.
Good Burger (1997)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 5.7/10
Good Burger isn’t necessarily a great movie. It’s more a bad movie that’s fun in all the right ways, which has given this 90s classic a cult following. The film follows to slightly dim teenagers as they sling burgers at a neighborhood joint that’s trying to survive the arrival of a big burger chain across the street — mirroring the struggle of gentrification in the 1990s. The film is a light-hearted romp with two buddies who love burgers, their community, and not having any real responsibility.
Like Water for Chocolate (1992)
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
This Mexican film based on a novel of the same name by Laura Esquivel is a slow-burning drama. The film centers around recipes passed down from woman to woman who lost at love in the early 1900s and learned to express their lives through the food they cook. This is part period-drama in revolutionary Mexico, part a love letter to cooking amazing food, and part melodrama that’s still visually stunning to this day.
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
Run Time: 122 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
There’s a lightness to this movie that makes it an easy watch. Helen Mirren delivers as an initially uptight restaurant owner in rural France who isn’t too stoked that a South Asian family moves in across the street to open their own restaurant. The family’s young master chef, Hassan, eventually wins over Mirren’s austere nature by cooking her an amazing omelet. From there the film follows Hasan as he becomes the toast of France’s food scene before finally finding his way back home to Mirren and his family.