It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
We know why nature makes sex feel good. It's so that people will be willing to go to all that mess and trouble simply to propagate the species. But why did nature make food taste good? Why have taste buds at all, when the negative reinforcement of hunger would have been enough to inspire human beings to eat? Imagine how simple the world would be if we (a) felt hungry, and (b) consumed X ounces of soybeans, until the feeling went away.
Apart from its basic function as a means of sustaining life, however, eating provides the most urgent and consistently entertaining of our bodily functions. Sex is terrific, but few people engage in it three times a day with foreplay in between, and you hardly ever hear anyone complaining as much about missing it as they do when they skip a meal. There is a deep reservoir of truth in that classic definition of the Perfect Lover: First they have sex with you, then they turn into a pizza.
We eat, it appears, for all sorts of reasons having little to do with hunger and nutrition. We eat for security, for reassurance, for companionship, for social reasons, for something to do. We eat too much. We eat the wrong things. There's a story in the paper three times a week about how we should eat less ice cream and more leafy vegetables. We know, and yet we do not listen.
Henry Jaglom's "Eating" is an extended conversation on these mysteries, engaged in by a group of women who are given fictional names but seem to be playing themselves, more or less. They are all neurotic about eating - all except for the saintly Mrs. Williams (Frances Bergen), a great beauty of a certain age, who shakes her head in disbelief and tsk-tsks the younger women as they confess their problems to them.
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