The Film: Wo Zhi Nu Ren Xin [What Women Want] – China
I don’t like remakes. I hate them. I hate stripping the culture from a story, everything that’s unique and charming gets lost. But not here. This remake is better, more charming, and smarter than the original.
I never found much in the original film which uniquely represented American culture in the first place so the replaced culture didn’t really have much of an impact on the film’s central storyline.
There are a few emotional levels this film does differently, but I quite enjoyed noting the differences. It was nice to be able to distance the content from the actors as, aside from my opinion of them individually, I couldn’t buy that Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson had any chemistry but Lau and Li certianly do.
Though another article has speculates that it replaces the female characters with pointless male characters and a story about women on the rise with anti-consumerism, I thought the addition of the father was a nice touch. I can see a fair point about sidelining some of the other female stories in favor of Lau but I certainly didn’t miss them. I’m sure if I I didn’t see a big push for anti-consumerism
It lacks pop or zing or some other onomatopoeia, I know. But hey, no awkward sex scenes. I’ll take that trade any day. The tonal shift makes it sightly less zany but, again, I don’t mind. I appreciated being able to really think about some of the ideas represented instead of waiting for another sex joke or prat fall.
I don’t know the point of remaking this film but there was a lot to enjoy. I don’t advocate remakes — but if it has to be done, at least it’s good to know it can be an enjoyable experience.
Holiday Spirit: +3
The Food: Arabic Lentil Soup
I had an intense craving for the Lebanese red lentil soup I love so much but red lentils aren’t easy to find in my area and I always have a supply of green lentils.
So instead of the original — I was inspired by this recipe made with green lentils. Inspired by, then I kind of winged it.
- 4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water and one chicken bullion cube (or 6 cups chicken broth)
- 2 onions, sliced thin
- 2 carrots, thin strips
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons bokharat (7 spice)
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 table spoon curry powder
- 1 cup lentils
- 1/2 cup parsley
Fry the onions, garlic, and carrots in a large pot. When the onions have caramelized, add the spices.
Add 1/2 a cup of broth to deglaze and the lentils. Continue frying. As the liquid evaporates, the lentils will begin to brown and soften. Add 1/4 cup parsley. Stir often.
Add the broth and 1/4 cup parsley. Let it cook, covered.
When the the lentils and vegetables are soft and the broth has reduced, use an immersion blender to get a thick consistency. The texture is up to you. For a vegan version use vegetable broth.
Not to brag, but it’s kind of amazing. It went perfectly with the whole wheat pita, mint hummus, and a mint-parsley sumac salad. A yummy, healthy way to warm up a December night. This one is staying in the recipe book. Definitely worth a remake.
Remake, get it?
Holiday Spirit: +2