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ATM: Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

Eat Drink Man Woman is Ang Lee's third movie and second consecutive movie nominated for the foreign picture Oscar. Although it is set in Taiwan, it features universal themes almost any individual who has lived in a urban setting can relate to. It explores how and why people often feel of lonely despite having families and friends, and the difficulties and possibilities we face when we try to connect with other people (family or otherwise).

Before I talk about this movie, I must state: If you love Chinese food as I do, you are in for a visual treat, as lovely shots of sumptuous Chinese foods in this film will certainly make you hungry. The film's theme broadly focuses on the malaise that surrounds most people (particularly youth) in modern settings. They're happy, but not quite happy. Although it explores many themes, the most important one is the struggle of three adult daughters to connect with their well-meaning but distant father.

The film has been lighted, color composed and edited to achieve a very leisurely, breezy feel, akin to a relaxed walk in the evening. Although the movie is 2 hours long, it never drags on because it is never heavy and frequently funny. Among the highlights of the movie are its superb dialogue. The banter among siblings and parents literally remind of your own experiences. It is a funny, light-hearted, but deeply introspective movie.

I found the movie online. Click on the link below to watch the movie online (HD quality). The site is 100% safe, and the only nuisance you will get is a pop-up in the beginning.


I have some discussion questions below which could orient your comments if you want, but how you want to discuss the movie is completely up to you. You can answer as many discussion questions (or none) as you want when you comment. Please note that there is NO correct answer for any of these discussion questions. We just want to hear from your perspective on any aspect of the movie that interested you.

Discussion questions (optional; focus on as many [or none] as you want):

Q: The movie sees various characters realizing themselves. There seems to be one pivotal moment for each character that symbolizes a change in each character like: a) the eldest daughter hooking the speaker to retort to her annoying neighbors, b) the father realizes that he can taste food again, and c) the second daughter deciding not to go to Amsterdam. What might these these actions really symbolize about what's going on in the minds of these characters?

Q: Why is this movie called "Eat Drink Man Woman"?

Q: Emma Thompson said that she decided to approach Ang Lee to direct "Sense and Sensibility" after watching this movie. What about "Eat Drink Man Woman" might have prompted Emma to make the (excellent and very successful) decision to approach Ang Lee for S&S?

Q: Do we still see flashes of Ang Lee's current style (evidenced in recent movies like "Life of Pi") in this film, or has he changed completely?

Again, there are no "correct" answers to these questions. Your opinion is just as good as mine. Feel to ignore this and discuss any other aspect of the movie.


What a lovely film portraying the struggles of a widower, looking after his three unmarried daughters, while indulging in his passion for cooking.

Personally I could watch a 2 hour film just about cooking Chinese food and not be bored anyway, as they make such tasty treats so quickly and some of the dishes shown in this film were just stunning. I wanted to be at that food table with them to sample all of the dishes. I would be there every Sunday, unlike the sisters who didn't want to be there.

The film leads us along each of the sisters' lives and loves (or lack of) in a gentle and realistic way.

Ironically it is the sister that wants to leave home the most who ends up being the one staying, after the totally unexpected announcement made by the father at the family gathering towards the end of the film.

Great portrayals of the characters, with lots of humour and heartache thrown in good measure.

I had never seen any of Ang Lee's work prior to Crouching Tiger, but his film made me want to see more of his earlier works as I was thoroughly engrossed and enjoyed every minute of it. It is worth the watch just to see the amazing cooking skills being portrayed.


Unfortunately I have not had time to watch this film, so I have no comment at this time.



Great choice Moviefan225! I saw that it’s going to be on Cinemax, and I waited, so I can watch it with subtitles in my native language, since I have a hard time keeping up with the English ones sometimes. Anyhoo…

This was a wonderful film!

I found the story and the characters to be very relatable. Though the theme of the daughters trying to connect with their father resonated with me, what I liked most is how, despite some of the characters’ plans, life always throws a surprise at you. And it’s through those surprises that we can find happiness and fulfillment, not the things we thought or planed to happen. The eldest daughter was resigned to taking care of her father, but love happened. The middle daughter was going to move out, but she fell for a scam, so she had to course correct and finally reconnected with her father. I’m not sure what the youngest one was doing (I found her story least interesting), but the baby happened (what a surprise that must have been). Now, the surprise for Madame Liang wasn’t that pleasant, but those plans fell apart as well.

Also the internal struggle between chasing your personal goals and dreams, and family duty was explored in a nice way.

For the characters self-realisations:

The eldest daughter gained confidence and finally decided to act on her feelings for the volleyball teacher. She was changing from someone passive to someone more active.

The second daughter, though she was the one who wanted to move out and leave, really struggled with that I feel, as the story progressed. Especially after she saw her father at the hospital. She finally realised that she could find happiness where she was, and not to look for it somewhere else.

For the longest time, after his wife’s death, the thing that gave the father happiness was cooking. But that too wasn’t enough anymore. So after he fell in love again and finally told his daughters, he could move on and be free to enjoy life (and food) again.



The title: Eat Drink Man Woman. As the tagline says, those are the ingredients of life. The most basic things that would bring you joy. A good meal and someone to love.

The only other Ang Lee films I’ve seen are Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain. Both excellent films, but I can’t really make a comparison of his style now and what we see in this film, it’s been to long since I’ve seen the other two.

Little things I liked (well, maybe not so little):

The cat in heat scene.
The father bringing the little girl lunch.
The big family dinner, and that reveal.
The final Sunday lunch with just the father and the middle daughter.

There is probably more, but I’ve written a novel as it is lol.

So, to repeat myself, it was a wonderful film, filled with great humour, and I even teared up a bit at the end. Those two hours went by without me noticing it. I only wish I hadn't seen it on an empty stomach!


One of my favorite movies.
The only thing I will add is the symbolism in this film.
Mr. Chu’s cooking technique represents an older traditional way of cooking.
Much like the he lived and tried to raise his daughters. He of course did
The best he could but really didn’t have the proper skills.
He also “lost” his tastebuds. As he lost his taste for life.
He was showing his daughters love the only way he knew how. By cooking.
As it turnes out those dinners end up a disaster.
In turn it tore him up knowing that the only way he had to show feelings
Was to cook and he failed at that also.

His relationship with the little girl. Represents a better time for him.
Back when he had more control of his life. When his girls were little and needed him.

As far as the title I always thought of it as 2 of the most basic human desires.
Eat Drink Man Woman = food and love.
2 things that everybody has in common. The need to eat and the need to love and be loved