Every year at New Year’s, my wife and I take in a few tried and true movies to get us inspired to live the good life in the coming twelve months. One of those films is the 1987 Danish movie Babette’s Feast. While most commentators on the film—including the Pope himself!—have chosen to see in the story and its titular character a version of Jesus Christ, I argue here that the true spirit of the movie is more Satanic than saintly. A film that, like the eponymous feast, unites both physical and spiritual appetites, Babette’s Feast provides a vision not of heavenly paradise, but of an artistic life of consummate skill spent in procurement of present satisfaction. It is precisely this vision of life lived for immediate fulfillment on one’s own terms that provides the needed antidote to Thoreau’s “lives of quiet desperation” both for other characters in the film and for us, the viewing audience. This is why Babette’s Feast is both inherently, if accidentally, Satanic, as well as the perfect movie to get you in the spirit of taking on bigger and better New Year’s resolutions. Enjoy more of the good life by clicking here.

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