The Film (4/5)
Table for Five is a drama film about a broken family. Jon Voight (Anaconda) stars as JP (James)Tennan who, after several years being thousands of miles away, decides that he wants to be closer to his three children again and be part of their lives. He lives in California while his family is in New York. His ex-wife Kathleen (Millie Perkins, Girl from La Mancha) has remarried to a wealthy lawyer, Mitchell (Richard Crenna, Wait Until Dark) and are raising the kids. In an effort to be closer to his children, Tilde (Roxana Zal), Truman-Paul (Robbie Kiger) and Trung (Son Hoang Bui), Tennan takes them Mediterranean cruise. Having not seen them much over the past five years, this cruise will be the most amount of time he has spent with his children. Because he does not know about the children’s problems and personalities has begins to struggle when they don’t behave themselves. Tennan is unable to handle his children who are causing problems, such Trung , who is just a teenager ordering alcoholic beverages using a fake ID . On top of that, Tennan is also looking to pick up some women in the nightlife on the ship while on the cruise while the kids are sleeping. The children make it difficult for him to do that, frustrating him and causing more tension.
When they eat a table, they sit at a table for five, hence the movies’ title. It is the four of them, but the fifth seat is for a woman that Tennan hopes and wants to have sitting with him and his three kids, a woman that he has met on the ship, a French archaeologist named Marie (Marie-Christine Barrault). Things get so strained between Tennan and the children that he neglects them in order to have a romantic interlude with Marie.
Because being a father to the kids isn’t working at all. Tennan and his children both decide to become friends, of which they then enjoy the cruise much more, including having a wonderful, memorable day in Rome. But the happiness doesn’t last as Mitchell, who is in Greece, calls Tannen who is still on the cruise, to inform him that Kathleen had died in a car accident while taking the family dog to the veterinarian.
The kids are devastated when they finally become aware of the news. Tannen, who is now starting to understand and know his children more, loves them, and with their mother now deceased, wants custody of his children. Mitchell, who also loves the children, is opposed to this because he feels that he can provide more for the children, plus he’s been there for them over the past five years. Mitchell’s argument about Tennan not knowing his children is valid, since Tennan doesn’t know who the kids’ teachers and friends are, basically not aware of their lives.
This is a terrific film, one of Jon Voight’s best. His role as Tennan as well as the rest of the characters will grow on you and you feel the anguish that they go through during the course of the film. Voigt is just great as JP Tennan that you can feel the same as he does during the moments where he learns of his ex-wife’s death. Crenna is also great as Mitchell playing the role of step-father who has to deal with the fact that the children’s natural father has returned to be part of their lives. There is no protagonist or antagonist in the film as when you get to know Mitchell and JP, that they are both good people who want to love and care for the children, and have good intentions. The film ends on the note where you are left to wonder what happens next; we do know that they want to be with their father, and the rest is up to us the viewer to decide what’s next.
Table for Five has several scenes where you can see a young Kevin Costner in a small role as a newlywed married to Cynthia Kania. You basically see them dancing or smiling.
Table for Five makes its debut on Blu ray courtesy of Kino Lorber. The movie is presented by Kino in the aspect ratio of 1:66:1 in 1080p with an MPEG 4 - AVC encode. It’s not the most glamorous release, but it’s more than adequate. This is probably due to using an old master. The picture quality looks okay – good overall , but nothing too spectacular ; I will say that the outdoor scenery on the ship during the daytime looks beautiful in HD, with great details while the interiors and other scenery when the cast is walking around Rome, Greece, Cairo is fine and watchable but not too robust. There are a few blips and specs that pop up here and there due to the film elements.
The audio quality for this film is the usual Kino DTS-HD Master Audio English 2.0. The dialog and music come in clear most of the way, but I did catch some hissing in a few spots.
Outside of trailers for Coming Home and Ulee’s Gold, his is a barebones release.
Table for Five is such a wonderful heartfelt film, that despite what I would call a few shortcomings on HD quality (both audio and video) and lack of supplements; the film itself more than makes up for it. It’s still worthy of a pickup for those who are fans of this film and also enjoy a good retro family drama.