A Table Is as Good as Nine Lives Image

As one that regularly revisits the great times spent with family eating copious amounts of food, I was more than impressed with writer-director Christina Leonardi’s A Table Is as Good as Nine Lives. In the span of 12 minutes, the filmmaker encapsulates a lifetime of warm recollections of her family around the dinner table. Of course, it goes without saying that the context of the release during a pandemic that largely precludes these gatherings adds an additional layer of poignancy.

“…encapsulates a lifetime of warm recollections of her family around the dinner table.”

Underscoring the ritual nature of Sunday dinners, Leonardi quickly grabs our attention with a former butcher butterflying a glorious hunk of meat in grisly detail. The scene is bound to be triggering for some vegans in the audience as the butcher expounds upon the nature of his previous profession. This sets the stage for a wave of archival footage and interviews that extol the virtues of food, wine, and family. This blend of touching family memories and meditative musings on living a fulfilled life in an easily digestible form works to elevate the film’s resonance more than the standard documentary fare.

While films about personal or shared trauma tend to dominate the genre’s discourse, A Table Is as Good as Nine Lives serves as a reminder that grand gestures or rousing political statements aren’t always a requirement for success. There’s a time and a place for that, for sure, but sometimes all we really need is our loved ones. Well, that and maybe some meat sauce.

A Table Is as Good as Nine Lives (2022)

Directed and Written: Christina Leonardi

Starring: Phil Leonardi, Irene Leonardi, Dana Lombardi, Len Lombardi, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

A Table Is as Good as Nine Lives Image

"…touching...[a] success."

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