There is so much joy to be had in the world. Yet much of our time is spent eating without the tastes -- living without the joy. God does bless us with many wonderful gifts -- people, love -- food. To know the joy God has for us, we have to live, not go through the motions.
by Darrel Manson


This page was created on September 13, 2001
This page was last updated on May 23, 2005

Click to enlargeDirected by Mar?a Ripoll
Writing credits: Hui-Ling Wang, Ang Lee and James Schamus for earlier screenplay) and Tom Musca for actual screenplay.

Hector Elizondo .... Martin Naranjo
Jacqueline Obradors .... Carmen Naranjo
Tamara Mello .... Maribel Naranjo
Constance Marie .... Yolanda
Nikolai Kinski .... Andy
Elizabeth Pe?a .... Leticia Naranjo
Raquel Welch .... Hortensia
Jade Herrera .... Eden

Produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr. (executive producer), John Bard Manulis (producer), Lulu Zezza (co-producer)
Original music by Bill Conti
Cinematography by Xavier P?rez Grobet
Film Editing by Andy Blumenthal

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sexual content.

QuickTime (11.3 MB)
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Tortilla Soup
Various Artists - Soundtrack - 2001

1. Sem Contencao - Bebel Gilberto 2. Hoy Me Voy - Sergent Garcia 3. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Lila Downs 4. La Verdolaga - P18 5. Cuchi-Cuchi - Los Amigos Invisibles 6. Si En Un Final - Eliades Ochoa 7. Lagrimas Negras - Cuba L.A. 8. Les Portes du Souvenir - Les Nubians 9. Si Estuvieras Aqui - Los Amigos Invisibles 10. Call Waiting - Zap Mama 11. Tortilla Soup - Bill Conti 12. La Pluma - Bloque 13. Amado Mio - Pink Martini

A comedy to arouse your appetite.
Three grown sisters try to cope with (and live with) their father who has one simple rule: be at home for Sunday dinner. Attendance is mandatory and non-negotiable. Tradition is not to be messed with. Heated talk, of course, is as common as jalape?os.

Bring to a boil a widowed father of three grown daughters.

Martin Naranjo (Hector Elizondo) is the family patriarch who's always got something simmering, both on the stove and beneath the surface. A classically trained master chef, his passion is his kitchen and his life's work is seeing his daughters happy, healthy, and secure.

Turn up the heat with the daughter in the middle.

Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors), is a beautiful and successful executive who's just been offered a dream job in Barcelona and the chance to make more money than she could ever have imagined. Yet it's not dollar bills that truly excite her but the tortillas, tomatillos, and chiles she's grown up with in dad's kitchen. Does she take the big bucks to please her father, or follow her heart into the kitchen to cook the seductive and rebellious foods she loves?

Mix in a strong-willed teenager.

Maribel (Tamara Mello) -- the baby of the family -- plans to leave the family nest in the fall to go to college. But destiny soon appears in the form of a hunky bohemian free spirit named Andy (Nikolai Kinski)? and college is suddenly off the agenda. Who needs college right away when you can see the world?

Stir in the oldest daughter, whose life is about to turn upside down.

Prim and proper schoolteacher Leticia (Elizabeth Pe?a) lives a life of quiet devotion - to her father, her pupils, and the Lord (the only true love of her life.) That is, until she starts receiving a series of mysterious love letters. Could they be the sweet confection of Orlando, the baseball coach (Paul Rodriquez) she sneaks furtive glances at from her classroom window?

Add a few surprises to the mix.

This is a family, so anything goes. There are always things simmering beneath the surface. Add Hortensia (Raquel Welch) to the pot -- a flamboyant and flirtatious grandmother hot for Martin -- and things get even spicier. What brews is a series of memorable Sunday meals, featuring tasty offerings and a bevy of delicious surprises. In this family, you bicker, fight, and disapprove. You also share, learn, and grow. But above all, you cook? and eat!


Producer Samuel Goldwyn had in mind a spicy story about family, food and romance centered around three rebellious sisters and a curmudgeonly father. What better source than "Eat Drink Man Woman," the 1995 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film which Goldwyn himself had released? While that film had the themes Goldwyn was looking for - humor, the bittersweet ties of family - he wanted one additional ingredient: the universal tension between daughters who want to be independent, and fathers who want them to remain little girls.

"By highlighting those themes and changing the setting to America, we open up a whole new world," says Goldwyn, Jr. "In this film, the father, (Martin, played by Hector Elizondo), instills the old-school values that he brought with him to this country just like our grandfathers did when they came here. Now his daughters have to deal with him and try to open his eyes to see that there are new ways of looking at things, that everybody makes mistakes and that you have to live your own life."

"Certain parts of this story could have been tragic, but this family finds a way to persevere through humor and certainly food - a lot of food," Elizondo adds.

A crucial element to the story was the casting of Martin, a widower who shares the roles of family patriarch and Master Chef extraordinaire. Martin lovingly prepares dishes of every imaginable variety in quantities which could feed an entire neighborhood. Elizondo immediately connected to and identified with the part. "This story is very close to me because I was an only parent raising a son," he says. "What's intriguing about this dynamic is his relationship with his daughters. Ironically, the daughter he's having the most trouble with is the one who is most like him.

"Martin is looking at himself in the mirror and has second thoughts as to whether he wants Carmen to follow in his footsteps; someone who has spent his life in the kitchen. It's what all parents go through, trying to help your kids accomplish something more than what you did."

The family themes also attracted Jacqueline Obradors, who plays middle daughter Carmen. "You can't help but think about family when you're part of this movie," she says. "Family, friends and the relationships you make are what is important."

Then there are the three sisters who are still living at home with their father. As one might expect, it's not always pleasant. "They all seem so different, but they have a lot in common," says Pe?a. "All of them are evolving, moving on. This is what creates the animosity among them."

For Raquel Welch, who plays an over-the-top neighbor looking for her next husband, all of the characters are special. "This is a film about real human circumstances," she says. "These are people you want to spend time with. You're charmed by them; not beaten over the head by them. I love that about this movie."

Playing alongside Welch gave Paul Rodriguez the opportunity to live out one of one of his boyhood fantasies. "I'm a migrant worker's son. I'd love to say that my father took me to the movies and I said to myself, 'Some day that's going to be me up there.' The reality is that I had a poster in my room of Raquel Welch. It was my motivation. Who'd have thought that I'd ever be in a film with her."

Review by
Darrel Manson

Pastor, Artesia Christian
Church ICQ 5624184 ><>Artesia, CA

Tortilla Soup is an Americanization of Ang Lee?s Eat Drink Man Woman. And it is flavored perfectly -- not too spicy, but certainly full of zest.

The story involves the Naranjo family, Martin, the father, and his three daughters, Leticia, Carmen, and Meribel. They are all on their own roads to seeking love and themselves. But at the center of it all is food. Lots of food. Beautiful food.

Martin is a Mexican-American master chef who has lost his ability to taste and to smell. Yet throughout the movie, either at the restaurant or at home, he is cooking. And everything he cooks you want to eat. Even as he slices onions or grills nopales, you can tell that everything he touches is marvelous.

Food serves as the key metaphor of the film. It symbolizes the joy of life. That is really what everyone is looking for. Martin, a widower for many years, lives just as he cooks. Since he cannot taste what he makes, he goes by memory and instinct. He does everything just as it should be done, but he never enjoys it. It is that metaphor that allows us to think about the joy of our own lives. Do we experience our joys, or do we merely go through the motions that we think should bring us joy?

There is so much joy to be had in the world. Yet much of our time is spent eating without the tastes -- living without the joy. God does bless us with many wonderful gifts -- people, love -- food. To know the joy God has for us, we have to live, not go through the motions.

If you plan on doing dinner and a movie, let me suggest you take in Tortilla Soup first, and then go to dinner. And make a reservation at a really good Mexican restaurant. And enjoy!

Tortilla Soup ? 2001 Samuel Goldwyn Films (IDP). All Rights Reserved.