“Umami”: Depardieu in a wandering that lacks rhythm

If it is available from this Wednesday in many theaters (around 300), “Umami” is being released discreetly. Following the publication of the Mediapart survey in which thirteen women accuse Gérard Depardieu of violence and even if, through his lawyers, the actor denied any criminally reprehensible behavior, the distributor and the producer of the film decided that the 74-year-old comedian would not participate in the promotion feature film.

In this second film by director Slony Sow (after “Parisiennes”, in 2014), Depardieu plays Gabriel Carvin, a starred chef in full glory but in crisis. His wife is cheating on him and he has been worrying since he had a big health problem. On the advice of his old oyster farmer friend, he abruptly leaves for Japan. There, he wants to find the chef who stole first place from him in a culinary competition forty years earlier by using “umami”, the fifth basic taste after sweet, sour, bitter and the dirty. During this journey, he will rediscover the taste… For life.

A plot in the background

Made to measure for Gérard Depardieu, to whom the kitchen apron fits like a glove, “Umami” seems to chain the imposed figures: Depardieu who groans against capsule hotels or automatic car doors, Depardieu who grumbles against a slope too steep that he has to ride a bicycle and in a kimono in the snow, Depardieu who confuses the Chinese and the Japanese, who talks about his five heart bypes… Behind these sketches which look like sketches, sometimes like gags, the intrigue, impressionist, appears as in the background.

We smile sometimes and we are downright amused by this dwarf character who plays rock to his pigs to give flavor to their meat. But the thinness of the scenario and the sentimentality of the final message (“It is useless to want to get the moon when a star is already shining in each of us”) unfortunately gets the better of these humorous notes.

Editor’s note:

” Umami », dramatic comedy by Slony Sow, with Gérard Depardieu, Kyozo Nagatsuka, Pierre Richard… (1h36)

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