Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Middle of all the Karens

The best thing about European movies is not knowing what's next.

They mock us.

"You sound like an American. That's a bad sign."

They admire us.

"It's as if Liechtenstein were walking with the U.S."


They cook differently.

"I brought ratatouille. I cooked each vegetable separately."

They woo differently.

"I love your hair. I could go on holiday in your hair."

They end their movies differently.

"I am happy to sit in the middle of all the Nathalies and just hide."

The movie in question was French and at the Westhampton.

"Delicacy" was the story of how a man wooed a woman named Nathalie who didn't even realize she wanted to be wooed.

In simplest terms, anyway.

Oh sure, her husband died and she grieved and her boss hit on her and her friends worried about her.

All with great panache because she was French.

And eventually she initiates a kiss with a coworker and begins the slow descent out of her cocoon of the past.

The pleasure was in being treated like an intelligent audience, so we weren't shown everything.

Some things went unexplained and we put two and two together ourselves.

It wasn't difficult; it was an early show and we were a small but smart bunch.

Hell, when a character's Swedish parents visited, we didn't even get subtitles. What they were saying was irrelevant but we got the point of the scene.

How do you go back to your prior life once you've met that someone who changes everything?

Bonuses to seeing a movie full of nuances of behavior and thoughtful dialog?

Lots of things to discuss when you get to Beauregard's Thai Room and my favorite outdoor eating space in Richmond.

Case in point: a pot of purple Canterbury Bells next to our secluded table near the fountain.

Two colors of calla lilies behind us -mauve and white- and a night sky low overhead.

It wasn't France, but it didn't feel like Richmond, either.

Squid over salad with lime, red onions, coriander and chilies was followed by shrimp with baby corn, straw mushrooms and scallions.

Meanwhile our first server got distracted and forgot all about us, our second server did research for us on the date of the building, and the Thai dance music got suddenly loud enough to dance to.

Reason number two that Beauregard's gets points?

Their housemade ice creams. Trying to choose a flavor, humor won us over.

Banana walnut was described as "mainly banana; the walnuts impede gulping."

Who wouldn't have to taste that?

Just for good measure, we got a scoop of black walnut on top of the banana walnut and washed it down with a glass of Prosecco.

Sitting in the emptying garden was like being hidden away from the rest of the city on a warm night.

Gulp. It almost felt like the ending of a French movie.

But with only one Karen.

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