Photo: Gary Gershoff/WireImage.com
Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream inspired Charles Baxter's The Feast of Love; in turn, Baxter's novel has inspired a film. The story's locale has shifted from Ann Arbor to Portland, Oregon, but its theme—the intoxicating power of romance—remains the same. The action revolves around the couplings and uncouplings of a circle of acquaintances whose stories are narrated by Harry (Morgan Freeman), a philosophy professor who holds court in a local café. Even as Harry's own marriage is tested by tragedy, he continues to dispense advice to his lovesick neighbors, including the café's proprietor (Greg Kinnear) and its mutually infatuated barristas (newcomers Toby Hemingway and Alexa Davalos). Although the plot occasionally feels contrived, director Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer) steers clear of treacle and delivers an ode to love that is witty, grown-up, and profoundly humane.