Lessons Learned from…Simply Irresistible

I don’t know if it’s because movies are more visual, but I find that my writing is often inspired more by films than books. And thanks to Netflix, I have an almost endless supply of classic movies to analyse.

Today’s pick is the awesome 1999 film Simply Irresistible, starring a baby-faced Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean Patrick Flannery. (The 90’s was full of people with three names.)

In terms of it being a classic, I personally think it is, but the 90’s was my time, so I pretty much loved everything that came out that decade. It was sort of like the 80’s, where the plots were a bit kooky, the main characters didn’t always look like they’d just stepped out of a hair and beauty salon, and you felt that realistic ‘grit’. I don’t know what’s happened to movies this decade, but they’re all so polished that even the ‘realistic’ ones aren’t.

Simply Irresistible has a slightly weird plot involving a magic crab that somehow makes an average chef amazing, and in the process, helps her get together with a millionaire department store guy.

What I liked about this movie:

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar (as Amanda) was quite a strong, unapologetic woman. While she was a little too forgiving at times, on the whole, she dominated Sean Patrick Flannery’s character, Tom.
  • Both characters felt like real people, even though their world was full of magic seafood and bizarre happenings.
  • The food scenes were great. I’m sure it must have been done before, but I love the concept of someone putting their feelings into their cooking and the emotions transferring to the people eating it. I have a vaguely related concept in the novel I’m currently working on, with a perfumer who ‘magically’ knows how to create the perfect perfume for its recipient.
  • Patricia Clarkson as the sassy Lois. It was nice to see a rich young guy hire an older woman as his assistant, and have her be competent and attractive. The fact that he treated her like an equal was awesome too. I know we’re supposed to have come a long way in terms of women’s rights, but there were already some great strong females in movies and TV in the 90’s.
  • Lawrence Gilliard Jnr as Nolan. He could easily have been turned into a caricature, but he was just the perfect amount of funny and supportive as Amanda’s sous chef / best friend.

The movie is far from perfect. ***SPOILER ALERT*** I felt like the ending was a bit weak, using a montage of memories for Tom’s ‘realisation’ moment, and there was no follow-up at the end as to whether Amanda stayed working at her own restaurant or helped out at Tom’s. But! There was just something so real about it compared to rom-coms these days. Which is saying something when you have a scene where the main couple literally float up to the ceiling while kissing.

For a Friday night in, I’d definitely recommend it.


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